The Legal Times reports that the District of Columbia has settled an action brought against it by Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld of Ohev Shalom – The National Synagogue, alleging that the District violated the First and Fifth Amendments by scheduling a special election on the last day of Passover. Because observant Jews cannot sign their names or use electronic devices on that holiday, Herzfeld claimed, city officials were imposing an unconstitutional burden on them.

According to the settlement agreement, Mayor Vincent Gray will recommend that the D.C. Council adopt legislation providing a window of time, rather than a mandatory date, to hold special elections. Although adoption by the Council is not guaranteed, Herzfeld’s attorney, Steven Lieberman, remarked, “I can’t believe that any representative of the people of the District of Columbia would be opposed to legislation that would broaden participation in elections.”

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