Photo Credit: Michael Stokes / Flickr / CC2
There was a two-hour line to vote in Limerick Township, Pennsylvania, Nov. 3, 2020.

Pennsylvania’s law determines that the state’s presidential primary should be held on the fourth Tuesday in April, which in 2024 happens to fall on April 23. Check your calendars, April 23, 2024, is also Nissan 15, 5784, a.k.a. the first day of Passover. It means that observant Jews from Philadelphia to Pittsburg are not allowed to drive their cars on Tuesday and Wednesday that week and would not be able to vote.

Maryland also holds its primary on Nissan 15. So does Delaware.


More than 100,000 Jews live in Pennsylvania. Not all of them are observant, but enough of them are going to consider holding the primary on a Jewish holiday when driving is forbidden an infringement of their religious rights.

240,000 Jews are living in Maryland. About 25,000 in Delaware.

Pennsylvania state lawmakers on Wednesday passed a law through a Senate committee changing the primary date from April 23 to March 19, but the process will not be simple, and it involves consulting with all the election clerks from every party in all the counties.

We looked it up. There’s nothing Jewish going on Tuesday, Adar 9 (March 19). Purim falls on the following Sunday, and, anyway, you can drive on Purim (although, you know, maybe to, but not from the holiday feast?).

Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, and Ohio will also hold their primaries on March 19. This could become the Jewish primary (without New York and California).

Pennsylvania has been a battleground state in every election since 2008, and that included most of the primary votes as well. We all remember Nissan 17, 5768 (that’s April 22, 2008, to you and me), when Hillary Clinton won and lived another day in her battle against Barack Obama. It was Chol Hamo’ed Pesach, so observant Jews voted in droves.


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