Judge denies rabbi's request to change D.C. election hours
WASHINGTON - A federal judge has denied the request of a D.C. rabbi to force the city's elections board to extend voting hours or change the date of an upcoming special election.
Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, head of Ohev Sholom -- The National Synagogue, sued the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics because a special election to select a new at-large D.C. Councilmember and two State Board of Education members is scheduled to be held April 26, the last day of Passover.
Polling places will close at 8 p.m. on the day of the election, while Passover ends at sundown on the same day.
At a hearing Friday in U.S. District Court, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said he was sympathetic to Herzfeld's request and the rabbi's complaint was "not insignificant."
But he said the conflict with Passover is only a "limited burden," while early and absentee voting options are enough to alleviate the problem.
The elections board will keep its early voting center open on Easter Sunday, although the move reportedly will cost about $25,000. The board also said it has no discretion regarding an election date, even if voting was to take place on Christmas.
Herzfeld argued the board would be attempting to change the date if an election did fall on Dec. 25.
Sullivan said he had "no doubt" elections officials would not forget to check the holiday calendar in the future. He also left the door open for Herzfeld to file an amended motion.
WTOP's Mark Segraves contributed to this report.