Sabbath-observing Jewish Democrats will be shut out of the party’s February 20 caucus in Nevada. The country’s third primary election is scheduled on a Saturday, at noon. Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and senator, is considered the favorite in Nevada against her insurgent opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, party leaders said they selected the time because they thought it would be most convenient for the largest number of people. “Saturday at 11 A.M. is the best time to increase access as much as possible for Democrats across Nevada to participate in our First in the West caucuses,” Stewart Boss, spokesman for the Nevada State Democratic Party, told the Review-Journal. “Keeping this date is critical to preserving our early-state status in the presidential nominating calendar.”
Traditional Shabbat observance prohibits driving, working and numerous other activities from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.
Other states with Saturday primaries avoid excluding observant Jews (and Seventh-day Adventists, who also observe their Sabbath on Saturdays) by giving voters the option of casting absentee ballots. In Nevada, however, voters who are not members of the military must show up in person to participate in its caucus.