With less than two weeks left in this election season, by now many in our communities have already cast their vote. According to the Michigan Secretary of State’s office, more than 1.5 million Michiganders have already turned their absentee ballots in. That is phenomenal news. We have been working diligently to ensure that all registered voters here in Michigan understand their right to vote early in person and via secure, designated ballot drop box locations.
ACCESS is proud to be a partner organization within the MichiganVoting.org statewide coalition, assisting Michiganders with all of the information and resources needed in order to plan your vote, and vote early.
The metropolitan Detroit area has one of the largest populations of Arab Americans in the United States. With such a high concentration of Arab Americans in Michigan, our voices make a difference in elections. We continue to see political parties and candidates courting the Arab American vote. ACCESS regularly holds voter registration events outside of local mosques and business and throughout our multiple facilities. We see the energy of first-time voters, as they recognize how this election significantly impacts their future.
With such a high concentration of Arab Americans in Michigan, our voices make a difference in elections
And with the passing of Proposal 3 in 2018, voting in this election, (and in elections moving forward) is even easier.
- A registered voter can request and receive an absentee ballot in Michigan for no specified reason at all. The old provision requiring you to provide a reason for voting absentee was abolished.
- You can register right up to Election Day, although we encourage you to register EARLY and vote EARLY, too.
- You can vote right now, IN PERSON at your city or township clerk’s office during open office hours until Monday, November 2 at 4 p.m.
- To find your local city or township clerk’s office, simply log into the Michigan Voter Information Center michigan.gov/vote, click on the “My Clerk” tab and enter your address. You can also call the office for directions.
- If you live in Detroit, Grand Rapids or another populous city, you can cast your ballot at a satellite voting location. Find one in your orbit by visiting https://www.michiganvoting.org/satellite-voting-locations for details.
You have the right to an accessible voting location and an accessible voting machine. If your clerk’s office is not accessible or there is no accessible voting machine, call your city/township clerk right away, report it and ask for an alternate site.
If for any reason, any person tries to get in the way of your vote call the nonpartisan Election Protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE. For assistance in Bengali, Cantonese, English, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, Urdu or Vietnamese, call 888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683). A volunteer will help resolve your voting issue and ensure you are able to cast your ballot.
Two years ago, Michigan voters decided that every voice in our state should be heard on Election Day – or before Election Day. Absentee and early voting allow you to control how and when you cast your vote. There is just no excuse. In 2016, 10,704 votes in Michigan decided the presidential election, which was the narrowest margin of victory in Michigan’s presidential election history. Your vote matters.
You do not have to wait until Nov. 3. The time is now. For details on voting early, becoming a poll worker or finding a secure ballot box drop off location, visit MichiganVoting.org.
—Hassan Jaber is president and chief executive officer of ACCESS, one of the nation’s most impactful and prolific Arab American community nonprofit organizations. As president and CEO, Jaber has helped grow the organization from a small group of volunteers, to one with over 100 programs at 11 locations today, which includes three national institutions, all serving communities of all backgrounds. Based in the Detroit area, ACCESS transitions people from being service recipients to fully engaged citizens able to advance justice and equity. For more information visit www.accesscommunity.org.