Civil rights advocates ask metropolis of Dearborn for Arabic-language voting ballots
DEARBORN, me. – A new push is underway in the town of Dearborn – which has the highest density of Arab Americans in the country – to get more voting information and ballots in Arabic.
For voters who do not speak English, lawyers are demanding Arabic ballot papers.
“What we had to do in the last election, we actually had to bring volunteers, translate the voter registration forms, and translate their ballots with them so they wouldn’t have those services for us,” said Nada Al Hanooti, executive director of Emgage Michiganage.
Under pressure from civil rights groups, the city has posted absentee ballots online in Arabic and has already registered in Arabic. However, Al Hanooti said it was a few days ago – two weeks before the next election, which they think will be one of the biggest elections in town.
“That’s just not enough,” she says.
Dearborn town clerk George Darany, who refused to go in front of the camera, said sample ballots in Arabic were on the way. Voters who only speak Arabic can compare the sample ballot to the real ballot, but official ballots are out of budget. Darany said these ballot papers could open the door to ballot papers in other languages, which he believed was not cost-effective.
“If you don’t have that, tell our community members that your votes don’t matter,” Al Hanooti said.
In addition, Dearborn has a single mailbox in the city of over 90,000 residents. The activists also want that to change; However, the town clerk said it was out of budget this year.
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