County drops bid to disqualify Hasidic votes in Bloomingburg, NY

Uriel Heilman

NEW YORK (JTA) – A county board of elections in upstate New York has ended its fight to disqualify the votes of Hasidic residents of the village of Bloomingburg.

After the Sullivan County Board of Elections moved last year to block the votes of some 150 Hasidic Jews, arguing that they weren’t really residents of the village, more than two dozen Hasidim filed a federal lawsuit claiming they were being unlawfully disenfranchised.

Tiny Bloomingburg has been the site of much strife between Orthodox Jewish newcomers trying to build a Hasidic community in the village and longtime area residents who have sought to block an Orthodox developer’s plans to build Hasidic-friendly housing and infrastructure there.

READ: How to build an American shtetl — See: Bloomingburg, N.Y.

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On Jan. 8, the county board of elections and the Hasidic petitioners agreed to settle their dispute, with the board dropping its voter disqualification determinations last year on Feb. 27 and March 10, and the Hasidic petitioners ending their lawsuit. Under the agreement, the petitioners’ names will remain on the county’s voting rolls.

The Hasidim who filed the lawsuit argued that 156 residents of the village who had their votes challenged were singled out on the basis of religion.

“We are pleased that on the eve of our court appearance, Sullivan County has admitted that the Board of Elections wrongfully canceled the votes of dozens of Bloomingburg’s Hasidic Jewish voters,” the Bloomingburg Jewish Community Council said in a statement provided to JTA.

Bloomingburg had 420 residents as of the 2010 Census.

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