Indy polling day could discriminate against Jews


RELIGIOUS leaders have it out at Alex Salmond over fears the independence voting day discriminates against Jews.

It has been considered that a Saturday polling day for the referendum might be best as more people are likely to turn out.

But according to the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCJC) holding the ballot on the day means 6,400 Jewish voters cannot attend. 

According to their faith a Saturday marks the Shabbat – the Jewish day of rest – and would not be able to vote.

Traditionally an election is always held on a Thursday but the SNP are keen to boost numbers after the weekend success seen in nations like Australia and New Zealand.

Although postal voting is possible it was also pointed out that Jewish it is not permitted to ask another to perform a forbidden activity on their behalf on the Shabbat.

This means that Jewish voters could not even ask a friend or neighbour to vote on their behalf.



In a paper submitted to the Scottish Parliament the SCJC said: “Equality of opportunity requires that no one should be compelled to vote by post on account of his or her religion which would be the case if the referendum were to be held on a Saturday.

“Postal voting, although permissible, are not without drawbacks since they require a voter to decide how to cast his or her vote well before the end of the campaign.

“We emphasise that changes to electoral procedures must not be such as to disadvantage any group in society.

“Were this to be the case it would send an unfortunately strong negative message about the place of minorities in any future independent Scotland.”

The Scottish Government said its consultation on the referendum plans for a Staurday vote were undecided as they held “mixed support”.

A spokeswoman said: “This is being considered along with the rest of the findings of the analysis.

“The proposed referendum date will be set out in the referendum bill to be introduced to parliament early next year.”



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