CARLE PLACE, NY (March 15, 2021) - Today, Senator Anna M. Kaplan (D-Great Neck) introduced legislation, S.5669, that would allow the Great Neck Public School District to move their annual meeting and election from May 18, 2021 to May 11, 2021 so as to not conflict with the religious holiday of Shavuot. The effort follows outcry from members of the community who were rightly concerned that Jewish voters in the community could be disenfranchised in the upcoming election without further action being taken.
"Voting is a sacred pillar of our democracy, and no voter should should be prevented from exercising their constitutional right to have their voice heard. When I heard that the Great Neck school elections were scheduled to take place during Shavuot, I immediately began working with the school district to find solutions to this problem so that no one in our community would be disenfranchised," said Senator Anna M. Kaplan.
In 1997, a state law was enacted to give school districts across New York the ability to move their annual elections from the third Tuesday of May to the second Tuesday of May if the original date conflicted with religious observances.
This year, school districts throughout New York with a significant Jewish population made requests under this provision to move their annual meeting and election so as to not conflict with the observance of Shavuot. Unfortunately, the Great Neck Public School District did not request a date change by March 1 as required by the law, necessitating enactment of new legislation to permit the district to make this important change.
The bill, S.5669, introduced today by Senator Kaplan,
- Allows the Great Neck Public School District to move their annual meeting and election from the third Tuesday of May as required by Section 2002 of the Education Law, to May 11, 2021 so as to not conflict with the religious holiday of Shavuot. Such meeting shall be held in the same manner and location as specified pursuant to section 2002 of the Education Law.
With resolution of this matter being time-sensitive, Senator Kaplan has also formally requested assistance from the Commissioner of the State Education Department in the event that there is a solution that can be found that does not require enactment of new law, a process which, under normal circumstances, can take months.
Senator Kaplan concluded "we need to fix this problem urgently and I'm pursuing every possible solution to ensure all Great Neck residents can have their voices heard this May."