Jews in Queens, New York object to having to vote in a church, and election officials have agreed to change the polling station to a library.
“It’s an issue for certain people that religiously don’t feel it’s right to ask them to vote in a church,” state Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz told the Queens Times-Ledger.
Election officials had designated the St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church as the polling station in the November presidential balloting for a Queens neighborhood, which includes Kew Gardens Hills’ large Jewish population.
Jewish law prohibits Jews from entering a church, where the Christian cross is offensive and considered to be a violation of the belief in the Creator.
The Board of Elections agreed to move the poling site to a local library, which also is much closer to Kew Gardens than the church.
The designation of the church as a polling station was made after officials said that previous site, a public school, did not have access for handicapped people, as legally required for elections.
The U.S. Justice Dept. has shut down several polling sites for the same reasons, but Simanowitz said the decision should be accompanied by providing funds to add ramps so that the sites will have the required access.