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Election date conflicts with Yom Kippur

Jan. 30, 2013 at 11:09 AM

SYDNEY, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Jewish leaders are disappointed with the announcement Australia's federal elections will be held on Yom Kippur, Sept. 14, a lawmaker said Wednesday.

Michael Danby of the Labor Party said he called Prime Minister Julia Gillard immediately after she announced the date, the Jewish Telegraph Agency reported.

Since voting is mandatory in Australia, Danby said he plans to contact the Special Minister of State to discuss "extra arrangements" to make it easier for Jews to cast ballots.

Orthodox Jews in Australia already vote by mail or at pre-poll booths since elections are always held on Saturdays.

"It's not a major issue for us," said Peter Wertheim, head of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.

Yom Kippur is the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.

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