DEARBORN, Mich. – Dearborn confirmed that there will be sample ballots offered in Arabic.
Dearborn has the nation’s highest density of Arab Americans and Arabic is often written next to English. Until now it was missing on sample election ballots.
Advocates said it’s an important step in the right direction.
Nada Al-Hanooti, Executive Director of Emgage, said the move is good for the community.
“It’s literally enfranchising our community. Without it, it’s literally suppressing the vote,” Al-Hanooti said.
Emgage is a Muslim civic advocacy organization. She said sample ballots in Arabic will help mobilize voters in Dearborn.
“It’s been a long time coming. We’ve been advocating for this for a long time. First time in history and keep in mind Dearborn is about 50% Arab American,” Al-Hanooti said.
Dearborn City Clerk George Darany said last year that sample ballots were available three days before the presidential election. This year they’ll be available two weeks before local elections.
“This year I called around in June to printers and companies a lot sooner and we did have it sooner than last November, but not as soon as advocate groups wanted them,” Darany said.
Dearborn already offers voter registration and applications to vote in Arabic and plan to have the sample ballots readily available at City Hall, online and at the polls.