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Citizens can get voting assistance in their first language

Emma Winowiecki
Michigan Radio

A non-partisan, non-profit group has launched a website in several languages to outline voting rights. Online information and several hotlines are being made available for voters who need help in their native language.

“It is absolutely all free," said Rebeka Islam, the executive director of the group Asian Pacific Islander American Vote Michigan. She added, "This is an effort by clerks, community groups, and voting rights activists who want to ensure that people understand and have equitable access to voting.”

The MichiganVoting.org group created the website to assist citizens whose first language is something other than English. They can get information on registering to vote, applying for absentee ballots, and understanding their voting rights.

Spanish, Arabic, and Vietnamese are among the several languages offered.

“That includes Bengali, Korean, Mandarin, traditional Chinese, Tagalog as well, for our communities to have resources,” Islam said.

The website launch is in tandem with the launch of a Michigan call center within the 866-OUR-VOTE Election Protection Hotline. According to a release by MichiganVoting.org, affiliated hotlines offer in-language support:

  • Spanish (888-VE-Y-VOTA)
  • Arabic (844-YALLA-US)
  • Bangla, Cantonese, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, Urdu, and Vietnamese (888-API-VOTE)
Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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