Here’s “What Bugs Me”:
When I vote in Alexandria, Virginia, and Federal elections at my precinct, I am required
to enter a house of worship, Agudas Achim. Unless I vote absentee by claiming a
“Religious obligation or conflict,” and state, “I do not choose to enter a house of
worship in order to cast my vote.”
Our precinct voting location should be returned to the Charles Barrett Elementary
School/Recreation Center, a public facility located within the precinct, and where
Parkfairfax residents previously voted. Our voting location and precinct were changed
to Agudas Achim in the 1980’s when our Recreation Center was renovated.
The First Amendment of our Bill of Rights begins, very clearly, “Congress shall
make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”
Some may argue it doesn’t matter so long as there are no religious symbols
displayed where votes are cast? But at Agudas Achim, numerous religious symbols
and artifacts are displayed along the way to the voting room. And, out of respect
to the Synagogue, poll workers are asked not to bring any meat products with them –
no MacMuffins or pepperoni pizzas here!
I respect, support and defend my fellow Americans’ right to worship as they please,
but the Alexandria Elections Administrator has a constitutional responsibility to resolve
this civil vs. religious conflict by reestablishing the Charles Barrett Precinct.
Maria T. Wildes
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