According to reports (such as here), the British government has changed its preferred date for the next general election from 14 October to 15 October because of considerations relating to the festival of Sukkot.

But Sukkot lasts from 13 October to 20 October this year, so both the 14th and the 15th are during the festival. What's different between these two dates?

More generally, what considerations affect whether and when Jews may vote in elections that are held at this time of the year?

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    ruffle, Welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks for bringing your question here! I hope you get helpful answers, and I look forward to seeing you around.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 15:22

1 Answer 1


There’s two main parts to Sukkos: the “Yom Tov,” on which most acts which are forbidden on the Sabbath are also forbidden (the main exception being many things that are involved in food preparation), and “Chol HaMoed,” on which some acts forbidden on Yom Tov are also forbidden, but which is generally more lenient. This year, the “Yom Tov” part of Sukkos starts at nightfall of the 13th and ends at nightfall on the 15th, with Chol HaMoed starting immediately upon the conclusion of Yom Tov and running until nightfall of the 20th, followed by a separate holiday, “Shmini Atzeres,” which is irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

As per this article (h/t Isaac Moses), the elections are open until 10 PM. Were the elections to be held on the 14th, this wouldn’t help anything; however, since they’ve been pushed off to the 15th, they are still open after Yom Tov is over and Chol HaMoed begins. As the relevant prohibitions to voting (driving to the polls and the electronics involved in the voting process itself) are permissible on Chol HaMoed but not on Yom Tov, this switch allows Jewish voters to vote the evening of the 15th.

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    As I live in Britain, we voters have two options one is postal vote in which we receive our ballot papers and post them back to the electoral office well before the election. 2 is proxy vote where I can send a representative to vote on my behalf ( obviously it would have to be a non Jew which raises itself a question) So I don’t see all the hype about Jews cannot vote when they can. Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 17:35
  • Guidance for UK proxy voting and postal vote gov.uk/apply-vote-proxy, assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/… Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 23:03
  • Many thanks @DonielF for this very clear answer.
    – user19733
    Commented Sep 6, 2019 at 2:42

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