No votes for frum Democratic Nevadans

  • Nevada
Shabbat-observant Jewish Democrats in Nevada will be shut out of the party’s caucus in that State.
by ANT KATZ with JTA | Feb 10, 2016

Pictured is the kop-and-kippa of Marc Daniels, a Bernie Sanders supporter with his candidate’s name emblazoned thereon in Hebrew, at a campaign event last month (Charles Ledford/Getty Images)

The country’s third primary election (remember that some are primaries and others caucuses - ED) is scheduled for 20 February - Saturday, at noon. Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and senator, is considered the favourite in Nevada against her insurgent opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, party leaders said they selected the time because they thought it would be most convenient for the largest number of people.

Other states with Saturday primaries avoid excluding observant Jews (and Seventh-day Adventists, who also observe their Sabbath on Saturdays) by giving voters the option of casting absentee ballots.

In Nevada, however, voters who are not members of the military must show up in person to participate.

According to the Huffington Post, Jolie Brislin, Nevada regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, said the group is “dismayed to learn that no religious accommodation will be made.”

 “As an organization committed to safeguarding religious freedom, we feel it is patently unfair to exclude someone from the caucus process because they are religiously observant,” she said. “We urge the party leadership to reconsider this decision.”

According to a 2012 Jewish population estimate, there are 76,300 Jews in Nevada. However, it is not clear how many of them are registered Democrats or are Sabbat-observant.

Rabbi Bradley Tecktiel, chairman of the community relations council of the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas, told the Review-Journal the scheduling is “unfortunate” and disenfranchises “certain members of the Jewish community.”

Rabbi Shea Harlig of Chabad of Southern Nevada said there’s “no reason” it couldn’t be held on a weeknight - and expressed surprise that party leaders weren’t more sensitive to religious diversity.

Nevada’s Republican caucus, the fourth primary vote for the party, is scheduled for Feb. 23, a Tuesday.


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