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andrewducker

Original post on Dreamwidth - there are comment count unavailable comments there.

Jews in Scotland may be disenfranchised by a Saturday vote.

cartesiandaemon

2012-03-07 12:38 pm (UTC)

Wow, multiculturalism is hard. I assume many Jews would be willing to vote, but many would not.

I suspect the case of proxy voting is complicated. A quick google suggests that if you ask someone to do something for you, and they happen to do it on the Sabbath, but you didn't ask them to or see them doing it, it may be ok. Here, where you don't specifically require them to do it on Saturday, but you know they almost certainly _will_, I don't know for sure. Of course, it's still unfair if you have to use a proxy vote and other people don't -- people who can't find a convenient proxy will still be disenfranchised.

OTOH, maybe they could hold the vote in winter and/or keep the polls open after sunset? :)

Re: Jews in Scotland may be disenfranchised by a Saturday vote.

andrewducker

2012-03-07 12:41 pm (UTC)

d'oh - the sunset issue solves it entirely, I think! Sunset is around 6:13, so if voting is until 10pm then they're fine.

Re: Jews in Scotland may be disenfranchised by a Saturday vote.

cartesiandaemon

2012-03-07 12:49 pm (UTC)

LOL. Well, yeah -- not perfect, but not worse than people who work on Saturday. But presumably that wasn't taken as given, or no-one would have objected in the first place?

Oh. That looks like it may rule out postal voting (although if you send in a postal vote and it's not counted until the polls closed, it should be after sunset).

But what about some local government elections where the election takes place on a Thursday, but they don't start counting the votes until Friday evening?

I hoped that it was only the actual voting people would object to, providing the counting doesn't _have_ to be on Saturday, but I don't actually know. Technically if you vote, you are very indirectly causing someone to count your ballot on saturday, but to me it feels more like buying something from someone you know is likely to do stock-taking on Saturday -- sufficiently removed it can't be yuor fault any more. But I don't know if people who keep very strict would actually see it that way.

Re: Jews in Scotland may be disenfranchised by a Saturday vote.

momentsmusicaux

2012-03-07 01:36 pm (UTC)

Or, yknow, just walk out of the house to a nearby polling station and make a cross on a piece of paper.

Re: Jews in Scotland may be disenfranchised by a Saturday vote.

andrewducker

2012-03-07 01:38 pm (UTC)

Much though I find religion silly, I'd rather that we took people's beliefs into account where possible.

Re: Jews in Scotland may be disenfranchised by a Saturday vote.

momentsmusicaux

2012-03-07 01:41 pm (UTC)

Right, but when even voting by proxy doesn't cut it, I think it's getting rather too silly.

When even at the last general election people who wanted to get their arses to the polling station couldn't, I think something like this is just a little bit obscene.

Re: Jews in Scotland may be disenfranchised by a Saturday vote.

andrewducker

2012-03-07 01:43 pm (UTC)

I find all sorts of religious beliefs silly, but I still think that we should find ways, where possible, to allow people to both take part in voting and uphold their religious beliefs. The alternative is that we are effectively saying "You may not vote." to a section of society.

Re: Jews in Scotland may be disenfranchised by a Saturday vote.

momentsmusicaux

2012-03-07 01:46 pm (UTC)

But we're not. We'd be saying 'Your combination of self-chosen restrictions on your behaviour are preventing you from doing something reasonably simple.'

My problem here is that I just don't comprehend that kind of inflexibility.

Re: Jews in Scotland may be disenfranchised by a Saturday vote.

andrewducker

2012-03-07 01:51 pm (UTC)

"In order to vote you must violate the explicit commandments of God. Do you want to vote? Yes/No"

It doesn't matter how silly I find it, or you find it. It has been commanded by God. And therefore asking them to be a teensy bit flexible on whether they follow the instructions of The Creator Of The Universe and followed since they were Chosen is not likely to go down well.

Re: Jews in Scotland may be disenfranchised by a Saturday vote.

danieldwilliam

2012-03-07 02:33 pm (UTC)

If voting on Saturday meant that 100% of the observant Jewish community couldn't or wouldnt' vote but that it meant that turn out increased by twice the number of lost Jewish voters how would that sit with you?

Re: Jews in Scotland may be disenfranchised by a Saturday vote.

cartesiandaemon

2012-03-07 02:23 pm (UTC)

Yeah. If all religions commandments which I thought were silly just went away, the world would be an awful lot simpler, but I don't think that's a realistic practical option :)

I am a bit torn. I think people refusing to vote would be taking it a bit far, and I hope this particular case will be solved fairly easily. But also, because so many religious prohibitions seem weird to me, including ones that I find out later are comparatively sensible, I'm very reluctant to decide for myself which ones are "allowed", and there are other similar cases where something is forbidden and and seems silly to me, but people really would fight and die for it, when hoping the problem will just go away won't really work.

Re: Jews in Scotland may be disenfranchised by a Saturday vote.

andrewducker

2012-03-07 02:29 pm (UTC)

I think it depends on the difficulty and offensiveness of working around it.

If some people cannot vote if it means talking to a woman who is not clothed "modestly" then that seems a step too far to me, and I'd be saying "Feel free to hang around the polling station and hope that a man happens to be on duty soon to help you.

But making sure that we don't hold the poll entirely at a time when some people are forbidden from attendance? Seems doable.

Re: Jews in Scotland may be disenfranchised by a Saturday vote.

cartesiandaemon

2012-03-07 03:03 pm (UTC)

Yeah, I think it's a (2d?) continuum between "letting people make up all sorts of commandments on the spot in order to manipulate and disadvantage other people" and "respecting things that are completely core in someone's identity". If someone can only vote between 5:15 and 5:17 on the first Tuesday of March, then they probably have to accept they can't vote. If someone can only vote if the voting hours are extended to 10pm, for one particularly important referendum, hopefully that can be worked round.

Re: Jews in Scotland may be disenfranchised by a Saturday vote.

del_c

2012-03-08 09:53 am (UTC)

It would be simplicity itself to require everyone present at an important civic event to dress modestly, and not more disruptive than to require all voters to vote on a work day. Just a small polite consideration to your fellow voters who happen to be religious, in order not to disenfranchise them. It does sound to me like your willingness to respect the religious depends on the religion.

How much respect did you have for Sunday trading restrictions? (yes, I know Christian law is an arbitrary and inconsistent set of rules, observant Christians seem to observe just the ones they feel like, and many nominal Christians don't seem to observe any of them. Thank goodness other religions aren't like that!)

Re: Jews in Scotland may be disenfranchised by a Saturday vote.

andrewducker

2012-03-08 09:56 am (UTC)

The range of "modestly" varies dramatically between cultures. Some people consider women in trousers to be immodest, for instance, and that's a step too far for me.

And I think that society has no business telling individuals when they should open their shops when it comes to religious reasons.

Why are they forbidden from attendance? They can't work, but voting isn't work (unless I'm missing something).

Okay, counting votes is work, but the thing about the postal vote and not letting others work seems rather difficult to justify to me, as the person who'll be doing the work hasn't signed up to the "no work" clause (or else they wouldn't be working!).

They can't do anything which counts as work or causes other people to work.

As "turning on a light switch" counts as work, voting may well do, you'd have to ask a Rabbi. Probably several.

Wow, that's... pretty restrictive O_o

I suspect if turning a light switch counts as work, their religious text might possibly need updating somewhat.

I just did a quick google search on what you can and can't do on a Saturday. Apparently you can flush the toilet (you must in fact, because hygiene trumps work), but you can't tear anything (such as the toilet paper), so an orthodox Jew must tear the toilet paper in advance.

I remain content being not religious.

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