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Advocacy groups want more Arabic translations ahead of August primary

A Clark County election worker scans mail-in ballots on Nov. 7 in North Las Vegas, Nevada.
A Clark County election worker scans mail-in ballots on Nov. 7 in North Las Vegas, Nevada.

Arab-American advocacy organizations are calling on Dearborn city officials to translate ballots ahead of the August primary. Emgage Michigan organizers spoke about the necessary for translations at the polls.

Nada El-Hanooti says she was at a polling site on election day last November when she saw a Lebanese woman who looked like her grandmother.

"I went up to her and she was speaking to me in Arabic like, I never leave my house. I am vulnerable to COVID. I just left just to vote. And she had a voter registration form and no one had helped her fill it out."

El-Hanooti says that if she wasn't there to translate, the woman wouldn't have been able to fill out the form in English. The incident occurred in Dearborn Heights but she says some of her teammates saw the same thing in the City of Dearborn.

Dearborn officials have translated absentee ballots and said they will staff voting sites with Arabic-speaking poll workers as needed on primary day next month.