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Muslim-American groups mobilise to get voters registered for election day

Organisations are aiming to register Muslim voters ahead of November's presidential election
Muslims in the US make up roughly one percent of the population, or around three million people
Muslims in US make up roughly one percent of population, or about three million people (AFP/File photo)
By in
Washington

Muslim-American activists are rallying across the country on Friday in an attempt to ensure every eligible voter from the faith group is registered for November's presidential election.

MPower Change, which bills itself as the biggest Muslim digital advocacy organisation in the US, launched National Muslim Voter Registration Day, which falls on 28 August, as part of its #MyMuslimVote campaign.

According to the organisation, almost half a million registered Muslim voters have been contacted and encouraged to vote in person or by mail.

"The stakes in [the] 2020 elections couldn't be higher for our community," the #MyMuslimVote campaign says on its website.

"We're calling Muslim voters in key states to ensure they cast their votes on primary, caucus, and election days."

Linda Sarsour, the executive director of MPower Change, told Middle East Eye that the campaign was "focused on engaging Muslim American voters in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Texas".

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) will also host virtual phone and text banks to assist in the effort.

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"If there was the full participation of Muslim voters in this election, we'd have the ability to tip the vote in Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Michigan and Connecticut," Robert McCaw, CAIR's director of government affairs, told CNN

"We need to make sure Muslims are inspired to vote for the candidates in front of us."

While Muslims in the US only make up roughly one percent of the population, or about three million people, the Muslim advocacy Emgage group says their votes may be crucial in the battleground states of Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Michigan.

In 2016, President Donald Trump won Michigan - which happens to be home to large Arab and Muslim communities - by a mere 10,000 votes.

"[Muslim Americans] are not a large voting bloc but we are definitely a strategic voting bloc, and when we put our forces behind key pivot counties, we can win the policy changes that we want to see," Aysha Ahmed, deputy national organising director at Emgage, said during a news conference on Tuesday. 

Still, according to a 2,000 person survey by CAIR in March, roughly 17 percent of Muslims identify with the Republican Party.

The Trump campaign launched "Muslim Voices for Trump" earlier this month, and while the site includes a sign-up form, no policy initiatives are listed.

"Muslim Voices for Trump will energise and mobilise the Muslim community in re-electing President Donald J Trump by sharing the many successes of the Trump Administration," the site states.

"Re-electing President Trump will ensure the protection of religious liberties, economic prosperity, and educational opportunities for Muslims in America."