Arabic language

Arabic-language ballots in Dearborn have a typo: City clerk

DEARBORN, MI — The Arabic mail-in ballots that were printed in Dearborn for the November election have “a typographical error.”

Dearborn City Clerk George T. Darany said 34 Arabic-language ballots were printed to mistakenly order voters to choose “no more than one” justice for Michigan’s Supreme Court. There are two open seats on the state Supreme Court and the ballot should have asked voters to choose “no more than two.”

“Upon learning of the error, our office immediately notified the Michigan State Elections Office and determined the number of absentee voters who needed to be notified,” Darany said in a statement.

Darany said election officials were notified of the error on Nov. 2 and it immediately affected 11 ballots filled and returned. There are 23 absentee ballots in Arabic that were requested and have not been returned to the city clerk’s office.

Darany said he contacted the 34 voters who requested the ballot and told them they could make changes to the affected section of their ballots by visiting the Dearborn City Clerk’s Office.

The ballots were translated by the Arab American News, but it was unclear if that is where the error occurred or if it was made during the printing process, which was made by Dominion, according to Arab American News publisher Osama Siblani, the Detroit Free Press reported.

“We made a mistake,” Siblani told the Free Press. “We didn’t have enough time to review the ballot.”

Going forward, all Dearborn election officials have been instructed to provide voters with a written statement explaining the error on the Arabic ballots, per Michigan State Elections Office guidelines, Darany said. .

“This statement will only be provided to those who choose to use an Arabic ballot, whether in early or absentee voting or on election day,” Darany said. “It is important to note that the Arab ballots have been tested in accordance with election protocols, and the ballots can accurately register up to two selections in the relevant section.”

Printing these ballots entirely in Arabic was a novelty, and they were made available in Hamtramck and Dearborn, two towns in Wayne County with large Arab-American populations. Nearly half of Dearborn’s population is Arab-American, according to the U.S. Census Bureau 2020 American Community Survey.