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Vote to begin at Israeli missions abroad

Envoys and emissaries for quasi-governmental groups from New Zealand to San Francisco get first chance to cast ballots

Illustrative: A woman places her vote in a ballot box for the Israeli general elections for the 19th parliament, January 22, 2013, in Jerusalem. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Illustrative: A woman places her vote in a ballot box for the Israeli general elections for the 19th parliament, January 22, 2013, in Jerusalem. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

While politicians still have two nearly weeks to win over prospective constituents at home, Israeli officials serving abroad will already have their say Wednesday, officially kicking off elections for the 20th Knesset.

Some 6,250 representatives in over 98 missions across the world are eligible to cast their vote, from Amman to El Salvador to Ghana.

Overseas voting will begin Wednesday night and will take place over the course of 36 hours, given differing time zones between countries.

Israeli representatives at the consulate in Wellington, New Zealand, will be the first to vote, with ambassador Yosef Livneh expected to submit the first ballot. The final vote will be held at the Israeli mission in San Francisco.

People with Israeli citizenship living or traveling abroad who do not serve the country in an official capacity are ineligible to vote.

But the exception made for diplomats also applies to emissaries sent overseas by the Jewish Agency, Keren Kayemet Leyisrael — The Jewish National Fund, Keren Hayesod and the World Zionist Organization. Their spouses and children (aged 18-20) can also cast a ballot abroad.

Max Luria, a Jewish Agency emissary in Ukraine, said he and his partner traveled 700 kilometers to cast a ballot.

“We wanted to vote because we truly believe that every vote change something,” he told Israel’s Army Radio.

The consulate in New York has the highest number of eligible voters, with about 600, according to a Knesset statement.

The votes will be sent via diplomatic mail to Israel and stored in a safe at the Central Elections Committee until election day.

At home, Israelis will converge on the ballot boxes on March 17.

Four types of “special elections” take place during voting season: those for diplomats and others serving the state abroad; Israeli soldiers on army bases; citizens in prisons; and hospital patients.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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