LOS ANGELES - In a letter to the Orange County Registrar of Voters, the ACLU of Southern California is calling on the county to guarantee early voting will be available for residents wishing to vote in a special election scheduled on the first day of the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah.

The letter sent late Friday by ACLU/SC attorney Hector Villagra to Registrar Steve Rodermund states that the ACLU is aware of 'fruitful discussions about how to minimize the burden imposed on Jewish voters by a special election scheduled in the 48th Congressional District on the first day of Rosh Hashanah,' but the letter goes on to say 'we wish to avoid litigation, and therefore seek written assurances from the County that early voting will be made available.'

The letter also seeks specific information about the educational outreach the County will provide in order to inform residents of early voting for the election scheduled Tuesday, Oct. 4.

'We understand the tight timeline to which the County must adhere in order to fill the Congressional seat, but we need to make sure for the sake of all community members that a viable option will be readily available for those who wish to vote,' said Villagra, who is also the director of the ACLU Orange County branch office.

The Congressional seat was made available after Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Orange County) was appointed by President George Bush to head the Securities and Exchange Commission.

'We remain concerned about the burden this places on Jewish voters and that a portion of Orange County will be denied the right to vote at the polls on election day and we hope this will serve as a reminder that election dates must be selected with care so that everyone can vote,' said Ramona Ripston, executive director of the ACLU/SC.

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