Australia's prime minister, Julia Gillard, has called the national election for September 14, which coincides this year with the Jewish day of atonement, Yom Kippur. Voting in Australia is compulsory, though there is proper provision for voting early and by post. Some members of the Australian Jewish community aren't troubled by the date of the election, but others are.
There is, in fact, a reasonable complaint. Though observant Jewish voters have not been disenfranchised, they are denied two other benefits of participating in election day activities. The first is because they are unable to canvass and otherwise help get out the vote. The second is a more nebulous thing perhaps, but important nonetheless. It is feeling part of a symbolic (as well as instrumental) national event, in which the democratic will of the country is being expressed.
An Australian Jewish reader - whose email I quote here with permission - has written to me to say, 'My decision is not to vote in the alternative ways and to treat this decision as an act of civil disobedience. Consequently, I will not pay fines and [will] defend my decision at the point when the fines constitute a legal debt'.