Posted by Guest on September 27, 2017 in Blog

22179751_10155669251611092_776477248289403622_o.jpgby Sydney Roeder

“Any day upholding American democracy... is a day well spent.” Zane Alkoor with Davidson College noted about the #YallaVote campaign launched by the Arab American Institute Foundation last week. 

September 26th was National Voter Registration Day. Like every other year since #YallaVote’s conception in 1998, AAIF took to the streets to register eligible voters. Nearly 30 organizations across 20 states followed suit, hosting their own #YallaVote tables or events. 

Alkoor’s sentiment about voter registration was felt across other organizations as well. The Middle Eastern Cultural Organization at Denison University registered 50 people at their table alone. Ali Berri from the Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities (LAHC) in Michigan stated that “many individuals who registered were not aware of how easy the process [was].”

22289754_10155669252531092_3011038900357289160_o.jpgNot only were more Americans registered to vote because of the #YallaVote initiative, but many also learned about AAIF in the process. Roohia Roohia, president of the Muslim Student Association at Albion College in Michigan said, “there were registered voters who just stopped by the table to learn about the campaign/AAIF and share their experiences working with Arab Americans in Dearborn, MI.” Zaina Ujayli from Ohio State University told us that “all [the students] wanted to receive future information from AAIF which shows how interested they were…”

While the Yalla Vote initiative was an overall success, registering people to vote is only half the battle. The second push will come in November when many states across the US go to the polls. In the midst of difficult political circumstances, making our voices heard is critical, particularly at the state-level. To find out more about how to #YallaVote and make your voice heard next month, please visit our webpage for state specific voter information. 

To see photos of #YallaVote in action on National Voter Registration Day checkout our Facebook album.

Sydney Roeder is a fall 2017 intern at the Arab American Institute.