Saturday, April 16, 2011

Judge Won’t Re-Schedule District of Columbia Special Election, Despite Conflict with Passover 

The District of Columbia is holding a special election on Tuesday, April 26, to fill a vacancy in the At-Large City Council seat, and also two seats on the Board of Education. On April 15, a U.S. District Court declined to order the Board of Elections to either move the date of the election to another day, or to extend voting hours from 8 p.m. until 10 p.m. A lawsuit had been filed on April 13, arguing that Orthodox Jews are not able to vote at the polls on election day because April 26 is the last day of Passover. Herzfeld v D.C. Board of Elections, 1:11-cv-721.

Passover ends at 8:40 p.m., so if the hours for voting had been extended until 10 p.m., the problem would have resolved itself. The judge noted that anyone can participate in early voting. Also he said if the lawsuit had been filed as soon as the Board of Elections had set the election date, then he would have ordered an extension of voting hours. See this story.

The election for City Council-at-Large is a partisan election, but because it is a special election, parties don’t choose nominees. The ballot lists six Democrats, one Republican, one Green, and one independent candidate. The Green candidate is Alan Page.


The fact that Jews take on themselves the obligation not to do melachot on Yom Tov is not the problem of a secular society. If there were no other options, I could see the argument, but there are both early and absentee voting opportunities.

Folks can vote during Chol HaMoed.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Chaptzem! Blog