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February 11, 2016 11:36 am

Orthodox Union Asks for Absentee Ballots for Shabbat-Observant Democrats in Nevada

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

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A Democratic caucus (illustrative). The OU is asking that Shabbat-observant voters be taken into account by the Nevada State Democratic Party. Photo: Wikipedia.

A Democratic caucus (illustrative). The OU is asking that Shabbat-observant voters be taken into account by the Nevada State Democratic Party. Photo: Wikipedia.

The largest Orthodox umbrella organization in the US called on the Democratic Party in Nevada to accommodate Jewish voters who observe the sabbath and therefore cannot participate in the party’s caucus and primary on Saturday, Feb. 20.

In a statement on Thursday, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (OU) urged the Nevada State Democratic Party to “change its caucus plans” for those who cannot attend “because of their religious beliefs.” The organization pointed to the fact that alternative solutions for people who cannot arrive at the polling stations on election day are available elsewhere.

“Other states that hold primaries on Saturdays avoid this exclusion by giving voters the option of casting absentee ballots. Nevada does not offer this alternative, instead requiring all voters who aren’t members of the military to participate in person,” the OU said in its statement.

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Nathan Diament, executive director of OU Advocacy, the organization’s nonpartisan public policy arm, said: “We ask the Nevada State Democratic Party to change its policy and ensure that all Nevadans can participate in the important presidential caucus. We must protect religious freedom.”

The caucus on Feb. 20 follows Tuesday’s primary in New Hampshire, where presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders won the Democratic primary and Donald Trump was the victorious Republican candidate.

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  • It’s not just the Democrats. The Republicans have done the same thing in the past.

    All streams of Judaism (as well as Sabbath-observing Christians) should be protesting this, not just the OU. So should all non-Sabbath observers who harbor democratic ideals and are tolerant of diversity. Shabbat is the most important holiday, not to mention one of the Ten Commandments.

    One final thought — are any of the candidates really acceptable to those who follow a Jewish way of life?

  • Sadie

    Democrat and Orthodox – the ultimate oxymoron.

    Harry Reid demanded that the caucus be held as outlined. You get the government you voted for and now you’re complaining. No pity from me.

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