(Trenton) – Today, Democratic leaders in New Jersey are reacting to the presidential caucus held in Nevada on Saturday, criticizing rules that disenfranchised sizable numbers of Democratic voters who are devoutly religious.

News reports indicated that Orthodox Jewish and Seventh-day Adventist communities were not able to participate in Saturday’s Democratic caucuses in Nevada due to the holy day of rest on Saturdays. According to the Nevada secretary of state's website, absentee voting is also not permitted during a contest, a voter must be physically present at a caucus location.

New Jersey State Assemblyman Gary Schaer expressed dismay. “The Democratic Party, long considered the party of inclusion, adheres to its ideals best when it takes into account the diversity that is America. The right and ability to vote is the fundamental cornerstone of our Democracy. No American should have his or her fundamental rights infringed upon because of their religious affiliation. I look forward to all political parties recognizing these essential rights and their obligation to all religious communities," stated Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-NJ).

Assemblyman Schaer was joined and supported by New Jersey State Democratic Chairman John Currie. “It is disappointing that people who wanted to participate in Saturday’s Democratic caucus in Nevada were left out because of their religious observance. As Democrats we should always be sensitive to issues of inclusion and diversity.  I will work with party officials so that in the future the electoral system is more flexible in order to accommodate everyone's beliefs," Currie added.

New Jersey’s presidential Primary Election contest will be held on Tuesday, June 7, 2016, and is open to eligible voters who register for their respective parties within the applicable deadlines. Voters may choose to cast ballots by mail. Voter information is available from the New Jersey Division of Elections.

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