Arabic-Language Ballots Approved for Dearborn – Presse et Guide

Despite some complaints from the Dearborn and Wayne County Clerks’ Offices, ballots will be available in Arabic beginning with the August primary election in Dearborn.

Sample ballots had previously been offered in Arabic, but now the official ballots will also be translated into that language. A unanimous vote by the Dearborn City Council in April calls for translations for any language spoken by more than 5% of the city’s population, or 10,000 people in total.

At the time of the vote, Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett said the decision was not good because of how quickly it needed to be implemented, and was also upset that her office did not have been consulted because they have to provide the ballot papers. Towards the city.

Dearborn City Clerk George Darany was also upset with the timing.

“The clerk’s office will be working very hard to meet the resolution deadline of preparing the Arab ballots for the August elections,” Darany said at the time. “However, since the council rushed the passage of this resolution, disregarding the many layers of government that need to be consulted first, this timeline is now in jeopardy.”

After a legal review of the new order and the hiring of a translation firm, Darany and Garrett withdrew their criticisms.

Federal Voting Rights Law requires translated ballots, but not Arabic.

Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act states that protected minority language groups are “persons who are Native American, Asian American, Alaskan Native, or of Spanish descent.”

The Arab community has long been classified as “white” on census records, so it was not included in the suffrage law.

Mayor Abdullah Hammoud said he was happy with the change.

“Voters will be able to go to the polls and understand what’s on the ballot in the language they are most comfortable with, be it English or Arabic, and be able to vote and really trying to make a difference,” he said. .

Ballots will be available for postal voting as well as at polling stations on Election Day.

About 50% of Dearborn’s population is of Arab descent.

Hamtramck is also offering translated ballot papers for the first time.