Arabic language ballots are available for the first time in state history at clerk offices in the cities of Dearborn and Hamtramck.
“It’s important that our democracy continue to be accessible and secure for every Michigan voter,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “In a moment where there are so many efforts to divide and deter citizen engagement, it’s inspiring to see Dearborn, Hamtramck, and Wayne County leadership come together to show government can be responsive to citizens’ needs and deliver results. Their work will directly help citizens in their communities be informed and engaged voters, and our state’s democracy will be healthier as a result.”
“I celebrate the achievement of Arabic ballots in Dearborn and Hamtramck for the August 2 primary, and all future elections,” said Wayne County Clerk Cathy M. Garrett. “The Office of the Wayne County Clerk, Elections Division, has worked extensively to help facilitate this landmark accomplishment and assure a positive outcome for greater ballot access.”
The city councils of Dearborn and Hamtramck passed resolutions earlier this year to make Arabic-language ballots available for their communities. Hamtramck already offered ballots in Bangla. Their clerks and Clerk Garrett, with support provided by Secretary Benson’s administration, worked to ensure they were available in the local clerks’ offices by the June 23 constitutional deadline. The translated ballots are available for absentee voting and will also be available at polling locations on Election Day.
Voters who wish to request an Arabic-language absentee ballot can do so by visiting their local clerk’s office or mailing in the Arabic-language absentee ballot application. Voters planning to request their absentee ballot by mail are encouraged to do so as soon as possible and no later than July 18 to prevent potential postal delays.
“This measure honors the fundamental ideal in our democracy: that it belongs to all of us, no matter our background, zip code, or native tongue,” said Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud. “We encourage Dearborn residents to vote in the language they are most comfortable, and to embrace the universal language of democracy.”
“This is a big step toward improving community engagement in the election process,” said Hamtramck Mayor Amer Ghalib. “It makes it easy for people to understand the ballots and make the right choices and will decrease the number of voided ballots. This is a historic moment for the Arab community, especially in Hamtramck and Dearborn, and we look forward to seeing the positive impact it brings to our community.”
“In addition to Arabic sample ballots, which have been available since 2019, and Arabic-speaking poll workers who have been working to assist voters for the past twenty years, the Arabic ballot is yet another tool to help non-English speaking voters cast their vote and make their voice heard,” said Dearborn City Clerk George T. Darany.
“To ensure democracy works for everyone, voting and elections must be free, fair, and accessible,” said Hamtramck City Clerk Rana Faraj. “In addition to English and Bangla, our elections will now include Arabic-translated materials and resources to accommodate our growing Arab community. The City of Hamtramck is happy to be providing our residents with the tools they need to vote confidently.”
Voters can find their clerk’s office location, polling place location, and more information at Michigan.gov/Vote.
ARTICLE CREDIT: LWV Dearborn⏤Dearborn Heights. PHOTO SOURCE: City of Dearborn (Image is an example of an Arabic-translated ballot in Dearborn).