With Friday Deadline, Agudah Urges Voter Drive

NEW YORK -

With Friday the deadline for voter registration by mail in New York State, Agudath Israel issued an urgent call for Orthodox Jewish voters to register to vote in the primary and general elections.

General turnout for local elections is usually low, especially during a non-presidential off-year election. But this year’s elections will determine the face of New York City government for the next four years.

Candidates vying for various positions are making all-out efforts to win the Orthodox vote. The race for the mayor’s office in particular is expected to be close, and the Orthodox vote could spell the difference between victory and defeat.

“Nothing is more important to our community than our children and Jewish education,” said Rabbi Shmuel Lefkowitz, Agudah’s vice president for community
services. “And with much of the community under great financial pressure, obtaining aid for Jewish schools is a top agenda item for the community, especially for special-needs children.”

Furthermore, said Agudah executive vice president Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, the essential issues of religious liberty are currently on the table — including the City’s unprecedented regulation of an aspect of bris milah — and it is critical for the incoming administration to be sensitive to the community’s most fundamental religious concerns.

“Our communities are empowered when our voices are heard. And the way to ensure that our voices are heard is through the voting booth,” Rabbi Zwiebel emphasized.

Those eligible can register in person at the Board of Elections or at any voter registration center. Registration forms can also be obtained by calling 1 (800) FOR-VOTE or by downloading a PDF version at the BOE website.

To be eligible to vote in the Sept. 10 primary, applications by mail must be postmarked no later than Aug. 16 and received no later than Aug. 21.