LONDON: Rashida Tlaib, who won the Democratic primary race for the US House of Representatives in Michigan’s 12th congressional district by landslide this week, hailed the introduction of Arabic-language ballots for elections in his district.
Tlaib won his race by a landslide, getting 63.8% of the vote with about 99% of the votes counted, the Associated Press said.
She faced three opponents, Janice Winfrey receiving 22.4% of the vote, Kelly Garrett receiving 8.7% and Shanelle Jackson receiving 5.1%.
Tlaib is one of the first two Muslim women in Congress, as well as the first Palestinian-American to hold a seat.
The Michigan congresswoman celebrated her victory on Twitter, saying, “This girl from #southwestDetroit isn’t going anywhere. I’m just getting started.
She also thanked voters for their support and for their faith in “the people-powered campaign and movement.”
Earlier this week, Tlaib shared on Instagram that her mother voted for her in this election.
“My Yama just voted for me. She has been a voter for over 35 years, but this is the first time I have been on her ballot and she was able to vote for me. She immediately found my name on her ballot voting,” Tlaib said.
“She asked for the Arab ballot (it’s new for our communities),” she added.
Michigan announced in July that for the first time in state history, Arabic-language ballots would be available at clerk’s offices in Dearborn and Hamtramck.
“It’s important that our democracy continue to be accessible and safe for every Michigan voter,” said Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.
“At a time when there are so many efforts to divide and discourage citizen engagement, it is inspiring to see the leaders of Dearborn, Hamtramck and Wayne County come together to show that government can meet the needs of citizens and produce results,” she added.
Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud said: “This measure honors the fundamental ideal of our democracy – that it belongs to all of us, regardless of our origins, zip code or mother tongue.”
Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act requires certain state and local governments to also provide ballots, registration forms, and other election materials in the language of the minority group concerned.
However, Arabic is not protected as a minority language by US federal law.
Commentators added that his triumph was particularly impressive, given his vocal criticism of Israel during his campaign and his fight against opposition from the pro-Israel political action committee Urban Empowerment Action.
According to Open Secrets, a website that tracks US election spending, the pro-Israel group spent nearly $700,000 supporting Winfrey against Tlaib.