Civil rights activists ask town of Dearborn for Arabic ballots

DEARBORN, Mich. – A new push is underway in the city of Dearborn – which has the highest density of Arab Americans in the country – for more information on voting and ballots in the Arabic language.

Lawyers call for voting in Arabic for voters who do not speak English.

Update: Dearborn to provide sample Arabic language ballots for the August primary

“What we had to do in the last election, we actually had to bring in volunteers to translate the voter registration forms and translate their ballots inside with them, so they didn’t have to. those services for us, ”said Nada Al Hanooti, ​​executive director of Emgage Michigan. .

After pressure from civil rights groups, the city posted the Arabic postal ballot requests online and already has the Arabic recording. However, Al Hanooti said that was a few days ago – two weeks before the next election, which she says is one of the biggest elections in the city.

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“It’s just not enough,” she said.

Dearborn Town Clerk George Darany, who did not want to pass in front of the camera, said samples of Arabic ballots were on their way. Voters who speak Arabic only can compare the ballot sample to the real ballot, but the official ballots are not in the budget. Darany said those ballots could open the door to ballots in other languages, which he said would not be cost effective.

“By not having this, we are telling members of our community (that) your votes don’t matter,” Al Hanooti said.

In addition, Dearborn has a single drop box in the city of over 90,000 people. Activists want that to change too; However, the city clerk said it was not in this year’s budget.

Read: Michigan Officials Still Fighting Spread of Disinformation Ahead of August Primary Election

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Read: Michigan SOS: Absentee ballots for August 3 election should be returned in person, by drop box

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