Assembly Member Robert “Bobby” Carroll (D-Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington) along with the Brooklyn Young Democrats’ Jewish Caucus are pushing representatives in Albany to reschedule the date of New York’s 2018 statewide primary from Tuesday, Sept, 11 to Thursday, Sept. 13 to accommodate the Jewish new year holiday of Rosh Hashanah.
For religious Jews any form of secular work, including voting, on Rosh Hashanah is forbidden.
“Holding an election on Rosh Hashanah will unfairly impede on the ability of Jewish New Yorkers to participate in the election process,” said the club’s Jewish Caucus Chair Zach Schaffer. “We encourage our state legislators and Governor Cuomo to ensure that no New Yorkers have to choose between religious observance and civic participation.”
For his part, Carroll is the prime sponsor of A8917, a bill to address the concerns of Jewish New Yorkers who will otherwise have to decide between observing a religious holiday or voting in the New York State primary. State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Island) is sponsoring the bill (S6955) on the senate side.
“This legislation helps to safeguard the inclusivity of our state’s electoral process by being mindful of the needs of every New Yorker,” said Carroll. “September 11th is a significant day of remembrance and memorial for many New Yorkers and also coincides with the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah.”
City Council Member Chaim Deutsch (D-Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach, Homecrest), who the Council’s Jewish Caucus is expected name as its chair next week, praised the legislation.
“Voting is a basic, fundamental right guaranteed to every American citizen in our Constitution. The election date should not disenfranchise any voting bloc. Thanks to Assemblymember Robert Carroll and State Senator Todd Kaminsky for taking the initiative to introduce these bills in the Assembly and State Senate. I look forward to the passage of this bill in both chambers.” said Deutsch.
Also praising the measure was City Councilman Kalman Yeger (D-Borough Park, Midwood, Bensonhurst), whose district includes many religious Jews.
“I am confident that the state legislature will pass this vital legislation to change the date of this year’s primary from Tuesday, September 11th, which coincides with Rosh Hashanah, to Thursday, September 13th,” said Yeger. “I am grateful to the legislators who introduced this important bill in recognition of the observances which will occur on September 11th, and I have no doubt Governor Cuomo will sign it as soon as it reaches his desk.”