Baltimore (Jul. 21)
A proclamation calling the General Assembly of Maryland into extraordinary session on July 29 to amend the dates for registration was issued today by Governor Albert C. Ritchie of Maryland. The Governor acted after more than a week’s investigation of a situation created by the conflict of the registration dates with two of the most important religious holidays of the Jewish calendar, Roth Hashonah and Succoth.
The Governor said he has taken the proper steps to assure himself that the legislature will limit itself to the one subject and that it can and will meet, pass the necessary law and adjourn in one day.
After consideration of the terms of the law in the case, the Governor explained he has found two or three alternatives, but believes the best course to follow would be an amendment of the existing law, providing for the substitution this year of new registration days for September 23 and 24 and October 7 and 8, which are set by statute. The former two coincide with the observance of Rosh Hashonah, and the latter dates are the same as Succoth, the Feast of Tabernacles.
Pointing out that the state should not permit any large group of its people to be disfranchised by circumstances wholly exceptional and unforeseen and beyond their control, as is the case in the coincidence of the registration dates with the days sacred to the Jewish people, the Governor declared he has not acted because of any great demand or pressure from any source.
“It is simply that I recognize an existing situation, have taken the time necessary to examine and appraise it calmly and carefully, and am convinced that fairness and justice to the people affected require a remedy which only the Legislature can give,” he said.
According to estimates, the Governor said, there are from 26,000 to 30,000 voting Jews in Baltimore, and of these it is estimated that 20,000 or more are Orthodox. The others are Reform. The cost of a one-day session of the Legislature as provided by law would be something over $8,000, the Governor stated.