Election Season: Ballot or Shabbat?

You are here:
< Back

Dear Rabbi Simon,
This year the EU elections for Greek expats is taking place on Shabbat.  Greek citizens in the UK will need to go to the Greek consulate and vote for the EU elections. Bearing in mind that this is an important EU election, my first question is, if I walk to the consulate in Holland Park would it be possible to vote?
There are other implications as well…. how will I able to register my vote? There might be a way to receive the voting forms before Shabbat and just put the vote in the poll but I will still need to sign.  Perhaps I can sign via proxy.
Hopefully though the poll will remain open until late in the evening, making things less complicated.
Best
Yaakov

Dear Yaakov,
Thank you for your interesting question.
Voting per se would seem to be in the category of a “weekday activity”. While this consideration may be waived in a circumstance of need, I am not convinced that casting your vote as a Greek citizen in the EU elections constitutes a “situation of need”. (I would contrast this with Senator Joseph Lieberman’s practice of occasionally voting in the US Senate on Shabbos or YT when circumstances demanded it.)
Moreover, as you describe in your question, beyond the exertion of walking from GG to Holland Park (which in and of itself is certainly allowed), there are a range of additional halakhic pitfalls. These may include the need to show ID (such as a passport), voter registration, writing, electronic devices, and more. Issues such as automated doors, surveillance, and security arches may be surmountable, but again, these raise potentially intricate halachic issues which one would normally prefer to avoid.
So bottom line, if you can vote by post or after Shabbat ends, that would be the way to go.
Rabbi Rashi Simon

Tags:
Questions & Answers
this week

Questions and Answers

Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Tzippy
***
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
Events / Calendar