Officials urge state to change primary election due to Rosh Hashanah conflict – Metro US

Officials urge state to change primary election due to Rosh Hashanah conflict

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All eyes will be on the 2018 election season as its results will impact President Trump’s administration and the country’s political landscape, what with the House of Representatives, a third of the Senate and 36 governorships all at stake.

But a portion of New York voters may not be able to take part in the state’s primary election on Sept. 11, which will drive the Nov. 6 general election, due to religious obligations.

Rosh Hashanah, the first of the Jewish high holy days of 2018, begins the evening of Sunday, Sept. 9 and concludes on primary night.

To ensure that the state’s Jewish population will be able to make it to the polls, several New York City officials are calling for state legislators to change the date of the primary election.

“Voting is our most basic democratic right and our most powerful tool to make our voices heard,” Public Advocate Letitia James said in a statement. “Asking New Yorkers to choose between observing their faith and exercising this basic civil right is fundamentally undemocratic. I urge the Legislature to recognize that the ability to exercise this right is essential to our democracy and will work to move primary day.”

Comptroller Scott Stringer seconded James’ sentiment, saying in a separate statement that “New Yorkers should never have to choose between voting and observing their faith. … At a time when voter engagement is exceptionally low, New York needs to do better by rescheduling the primary, so no New Yorker has to sacrifice fulfilling one’s civic duty because of adherence to one’s faith.”

Because election days are decided by statute, the change must come from New York state legislature, which last changed primary day in 2007 when the election fell on the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

“Bills have been introduced in both houses, and I expect they will move to pass and the governor will sign,” John Conklin, director of public information for the state Board of Elections, told Metro Tuesday.

While he had no ETA as to when the official decision would be made, Conklin expects it will occur quickly so county boards have enough time to prepare for the change.

If approved as anticipated, “I expect the impact to be minimal,” Conklin said, and added that it’s likely the primary will take place two days later on Thursday, Sept. 13.

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