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Arab America Picks a President

posted on: Feb 17, 2016


BY: Fred Shwaery/Arab America Contributing Writer

We are 11 months from inaugurating a new president and vice president. Much has been happening and much will unfold between now and Inauguration Day. Through it all, Arab Americans have been a part of the electoral process and will continue to do so.

In this new weekly series, we will explore the process of selecting the next American president. There will be caucuses, primaries, delegate selections, Democratic and Republican party conventions – and that’s just to nominate the Republican and Democratic party candidates.

After that, we’ll vote in the election on Tuesday, November 8 and the electoral college meetings will be in December. Only then can we truly name the president-elect.

In addition to electing a president and vice president, Americans will elect 34 senators and all 435 members of congress. In some states, there will be other officials standing for election.

There are many opportunities for Arab Americans to participate in this important work. Some of us will be candidates, many will be election officials operating the thousands of election precincts, and many more will be candidate supporters knocking on doors and making phone calls urging their neighbors to vote.

This year offers an important opportunity for college students to get involved in a meaningful way. Many students take a break from the fall semester to be full-time interns on campaigns. It’s a great opportunity to get hands-on learning that can’t be duplicated in a classroom and a presidential election comes only once in a four-year cycle so many students take advantage of the opportunity to join a campaign.

Students won’t be the only ones learning. Arab Americans of all ages will be up close to candidates and their key staff members and they can learn from us. Through our involvement, we will show that we are hard-working, honest, hospitable people. They will hear directly from us about the issues facing Arab Americans from immigration, to small business concerns and more.  We will take this opportunity to show them that we are not as the media often portray us.

If you live in or can get to the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia or the Republican convention in Cleveland this summer, you’ll be in for a real treat. You’ll rub elbows with elected officials, candidates, media stars, and more. You’ll recognize someone you’ve seen in the news on every street. The conventions are non-stop fun and non-stop parties!

One thing I’ll mention throughout this series is that there are different rules in the different states. Yes, we’ll all vote on the same day in November, you must be you must be at least 18 years old and a US citizen to register to vote but there are many differences among the states. Rules for registering to vote, for absentee voting, and who will be on your state ballot vary.

The process of electing the president in the US is unique and we’ll give you the information you need to make your votes count – in caucuses, primaries and the general election. We’ll have a “What’s Happening?” box with details on upcoming debates, primaries, etc.

We’ll help you keep score along the way–how the candidates do in caucuses and primaries, how many delegates and super delegates they have, who’s out of the race and more!  Yes, we’ll explain super delegates! As we get further along this exciting path, we’ll explore the vice-presidential candidates, too.

We want to receive your questions, too. Write to me at: with your questions and comments. We want to hear about your experiences on the front lines–so let us know what you’re doing.


Register to vote at:

This government Web site has information for registering to vote in all states. Remember, rules such as registration deadlines, proof of identification and the like vary by state. Best bet is to apply as soon as you can to ensure that you have the opportunity to vote. Remember to update your voter registration if you move.