Harrisburg, PA – October 26, 2023 – Today, State Senator Jay Costa joins calls from Jewish constituents in his district and across the commonwealth to adjust the date of Pennsylvania’s 2024 primary election to respect Passover. If the primary date remains April 23, 2024, many Jewish voters may be disenfranchised from the voting process. Additionally, Jewish people may be unable to serve as poll workers, and Jewish houses of worship likely cannot be used as polling places.
The PA Senate Democratic Caucus has been vocal in its call to find a new date for the 2024 primary to balance the need for Pennsylvania’s voters to have a larger say in presidential candidates with the need to avoid conflicts in the Jewish calendar. Many have suggested moving the date up one week to April 16, 2024, which does not coincide with any major religious holidays.
“I cannot stand by as Jewish people are forced to choose between observing their faith and making their voices heard in primary elections,” said Senator Costa. “The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania must immediately return to the table and end their obstinate opposition to moving the date. In this moment, as Jewish and Israeli people are mourning a terrorist attack and hundreds of deaths, we must affirm that Jewish people are welcome in Pennsylvania and that their voices are critical. I will continue to push the County Commissioners Association to agree to a primary date that is respectful of this high holiday.”
“Without any action, the 2024 primary date will fall on Passover,” said Senator Amanda M. Cappelletti, Democratic Chair of the State Government Committee. “Keeping this date for the primary is disrespectful to the entire Jewish community in Pennsylvania. Jewish voters and poll workers deserve the space to observe this important holiday without their civic duties overlapping on their observances. We all knew this was coming, and it is of the utmost importance that we take urgent action to confirm a new primary date before it is too late.”
The Jewish Legislative Caucus, which is co-chaired by Representative Dan Frankel and State Senator Judy Schwank, also released a statement expressing great disappointment over the coincidence of the primary election and Passover.
HB 224, which would move the date of Pennsylvania’s 2024 primary election, is currently in the Senate Rules Committee.