Julia Gillard has indicated that the Australian election will be held on September 14, which is the date Yom Kippur falls. This article says that no election has fallen on Yom Kippur since 1946, which is when the Australian Electoral Commission began recording election dates. I've also heard that there's never been a federal election held on Yom Kippur, though I don't have a citation for that.

But I'm thinking that if you're looking only at Australian elections, there haven't been enough of them to determine whether that's just a matter of chance or not.

If anyone's wondering, Jews will be able to vote beforehand, as usual, but it's been claimed some individuals who'd otherwise be involved in political campaigning in the final day (Sabbath notwithstanding) or days of the campaign will choose not to.

In genuine democracies with a non-fixed date election, and a non-trivial Jewish population (unlike, say, India or Japan), how often are elections held on or near Yom Kippur, compared to what would happen by chance alone?

  • Oy vey. The "news" article discussing the topic concludes with "The election date would also have been Amy Winehouse's 30th birthday". Whaaaaa?
    – user4012
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 17:42
  • 1
    @user4012 and now the Labor party in Israel has delayed its primaries because of a Britney concert. twitter.com/i/moments/849756933624020992
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 0:44
  • @AndrewGrimm - it's a bit more nuanced than that (they couldn't get enough security because of the concert) but amusing nonetheless
    – user4012
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 0:47

1 Answer 1


First, some technical background (which would help any other answers):

Yom Kippur falls each year on the 10th day of the Jewish month of Tishrei, which is 9 days after the first day of Rosh Hashanah. In terms of the Gregorian calendar, the earliest date on which Yom Kippur can fall is September 14, as happened in 1899 and will happen again in 2013. The latest Yom Kippur can occur relative to the Gregorian dates is on October 14, as happened in 1967 and will happen again in 2043. (Wiki)

As such, for example, the country with the highest Jewish population (USA) can not possibly have a non-special federal election on Yom Kippur, as regular federal elections are always held

on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, which is usually also the first Tuesday in November. The earliest possible date is November 2 and the latest possible date is November 8 (src).

An example of the country where this could happen is UK.

In 2008, Haringey Council (Alexandra ward) announced the elections for Yom Kippur. In response,

Conservative Party candidate David Douglas says he was "appalled" by the North London authority's decision and has written to Justice Minister Jack Straw to ask for a change in the law.
Christmas Day, Good Friday and weekends are already listed as dies non - days on which an election cannot be scheduled.
Mr Douglas said Yom Kippur and other religious holidays should be added to the list to "prevent this sort of farce happening again". source

I wasn't able to find any mentions of Yom Kippur elections aside from that, at least in the first five pages of Google search

  • What about US primaries?
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Mar 6, 2016 at 0:47
  • @AndrewGrimm - without research, I'm tempted to guess they all end well in advance of any possible Yom Kippur dates. But feel free to ask as a separate question if you want more precision.
    – user4012
    Commented Mar 6, 2016 at 22:31

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