Washington - D.C. GOP Extends Primary Hours To Accommodate Shomer Shabbos Jews
Washington - Orthodox Jews residing in Washington, D.C. will no longer have to choose between their religious observance and their right to vote in the GOP presidential primary scheduled during this shabbos Mar. 12 from 10 AM to 4 PM at the Loews Madison Hotel ballroom.
When Rabbi Herzfeld of the National Synagogue (Ohev Shalom Shul) learned that Orthodox Jews would be excluded from voting because of the hours, he contacted the D.C. Republican Party to demand an extension in the voting hours. “We have a significant number in our congregation who are Republican, there’s no question about it.
A lot of people in the congregation are very prominent Republicans,” Rabbi Herzfeld told The Washington Post (http://wapo.st/1W4mdsf). “Primaries and caucuses should not be scheduled at a time that disadvantages people,” Rabbi Herzfeld added.
D.C. Republicans agreed, and said the party will now keep the polls open until 9:00 PM to accommodate observant voters, but at a different location – a hotel located at 1177 15th Street NW.
The extended hours are only for registered Republicans who attest they could not vote during regular hours because of their religious observance. “This is an important precedent that shows that a party is willing to go the extra step to make sure that nobody is disadvantaged,” Rabbi Herzfeld said. “It’s very simple. Everyone has a right to vote.”
Rabbi Herzfeld said he expects about 250 shomer shabbos Jews to vote in the primary after shabbos in the battle for the District’s 19 delegates. D.C. Republicans anticipate the primary will attract between 2,000 and 8,000 voters. A 2015 Pew study found that 57% of Orthodox Jews are Republicans.
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