Zeinab Bazzoum, Deena Atoui and Menar Muflihi are a little old to trick-or-treat and a little young to vote—but the Dearborn residents are just the right age to Trick-or-Vote.
The Fordson High School students, who are part of their school's Arab Student Union, joined around 100 volunteers who canvassed east Dearborn neighborhoods on Halloween, passing out bilingual information to potential voters.
"We wanted to help out our community," Atoui said of their reasons for volunteering.
"And I like working with kids," added Bazzoum.
Indeed, many costumed little ones joined volunteers for the walk around the neighborhoods. They were probably in it for the candy, but that's OK, said organizer and ACCESS Civic Engagement and Field Coordinator Rachid Elabed.
"It's a good way to get the youth involved in a nonpartisan way," he said. "Kids have fun while getting involved."
Volunteers handed out voter information cards, explaining issues like voter rights, and why all adults should exercise their right, in both Arabic and English. Residents were also given information sheets on the three statewide ballot proposals that ACCESS has taken a position on: the home health care initiative, "Protect Our Jobs" amendment, and the international bridge initiative.
ACCESS supports the first two, but is against the bridge proposal.
As for choosing Halloween over any other day leading up to the Nov. 6 election, Elabed said event was a perfect way to meld a fun evening and an important cause.
"The kids are already going out," he said. "What other day can you dress up for Halloween and get involved in elections?"
Trick-or-Vote is a national initiative that takes place in dozens of cities throughout the U.S. on Halloween—including 22 grassroots Arab American organizations in 11 states that, like ACCESS, are part of the National Network for Arab American Communities.
The effort comes near the end of a months-long national voter registration and civic engagement campaign that included door-to-door canvassing, phone banking, debate watch parties, candidates’ forums, mailers and daily engagement. That work resulted in the registration of nearly 5,000 new voters in New York, California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and other states.
"NNAAC has been working hard to ensure that Arab Americans make their voices heard on Nov. 6, and these efforts are paying off," said the organization’s director, Nadia Tonova. "Our community is active, engaged and ready to go to the polls."