Australia Holding 2013 Elections on Yom Kippur

Australia scheduled its national elections for Yom Kippur this year, leaving the country’s population of some 110,000 Jews facing a decision of whether to vote on Election Day or to find an alternative arrangement for submitting their ballot.

The September 14 date was announced Wednesday by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard of the Labour Party.

Voting is mandatory in Australia, and those who do not vote are fined.

Since the country’s elections take place on Saturdays, Sabbath-observing Jews vote by mail or at pre-poll booths. This year, with the date also coinciding with Yom Kippur, more Australian Jews are expected to follow course.

Michael Danby, a Jewish lawmaker from the ruling Labour Party, said Gillard called him immediately after she made the announcement. Danby said he plans to contact the special minister of state to discuss ”extra arrangements” to make it easier for Jews to cast their ballots, local media reported.


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