Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

Did Israel Get-Out-Vote Group Drop Ball on Presidential Election?

JERUSALEM — A number of Americans living in Israel are complaining about iVote Israel, an organization founded by American Israelis to help ex-pat Americans vote in U.S. presidential elections.

Potential voters supporting both political parties are complaining that requests for absentee ballots filed through iVote were never received by their local elections officials and that they did not receive their ballots for next week’s election, Haaretz reported.

iVote Israel’s slogan is “Making Voting From Israel Easy.” According to its website, it is a project of Americans for Jerusalem, a registered 501(c)4, and does not support any specific candidate or candidate’s committee. Haaretz reports that the group was founded in 2012 ahead of the Obama-Romney presidential race by political activists with ties to the Republican Party.

The group offered dropboxes until Tuesday for filled out ballots to be returned postage free to the United States in 11 cities and towns in Israel, most in the country’s center, as well as Beersheba and Efrat in the Etzion bloc north of Jerusalem.

There also were dropboxes set up as much as three months ago to receive absentee ballot requests to be sent through the U.S. embassy to potential voters’ voting districts. The group held voter registration events as well.

Potential voters, both Democrat and Republican, alleged to Haaretz that the group deliberately did not send in ballot requests, because it favors the other side’s candidate; for example, those who signed up through a voter-registration event in August in Tel Aviv, where more voters lean toward the Democratic candidate.

“iVote Israel does everything it can to make the voting process easier and is actively looking into the issue of ballots not arriving through our own channels, and has even been in touch with congressional leaders on these matters,” iVote Israel Director Eitan Charnoff  told Haaretz.

“It is important to emphasize that the numbers of late ballots or ballots not arriving are lower than in 2012 and do not pertain to those who registered through iVote, as many who registered elsewhere have reached out to us for assistance as well,” he said.

Charnoff says the ballots that did not get sent were likely due to voter request forms that were filled out illegibly or incorrectly.

Some activists interviewed by Haaretz took issue with that, saying they either personally filled out the request for someone else who then signed it or reviewed the ballot request to maker sue it was filled out correctly.

Americans living in Israel who did not receive ballots from their local board of elections can download and print out a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot, which is valid in every state, and return it.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning journalism this Passover.

In this age of misinformation, our work is needed like never before. We report on the news that matters most to American Jews, driven by truth, not ideology.

At a time when newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall. That means for the first time in our 126-year history, Forward journalism is free to everyone, everywhere. With an ongoing war, rising antisemitism, and a flood of disinformation that may affect the upcoming election, we believe that free and open access to Jewish journalism is imperative.

Readers like you make it all possible. Right now, we’re in the middle of our Passover Pledge Drive and we need 500 people to step up and make a gift to sustain our trustworthy, independent journalism.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Our Goal: 500 gifts during our Passover Pledge Drive!

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.