Dearborn Heights City Clerk Resigns at City Council Meeting On July 22, 2014

The Clerk at the Tuesday July 22 council meeting did submit a list of reasons for resigning I’ve been told that there are several reasons and absentee voter applications are just one of them…He all so has a problem as he stated with the City as a whole and he did say that last night on WXYZ Detroit you can see it here.

The Clerk who was just Re-elected in November has decided for several reasons to leave. He’s stated in his letter to the council according to people who’ve read it I haven’t yet. that his office is understaffed. I’d like to point out the obvious this is of his own doing. Least we all forget this is the same man who not  so many months ago City Council Censured for sexual harassment. That was swept under the rug as fast as Council and the administration could do it… This is the same man who said he could work under the budgetary constraints that the City now finds it’s self in… Only to have him put in for and our great council gave him back the deputy clerk position in this years budget. He’s whined for months about being understaffed as if he’s the only damn department in the City understaffed.

He talks of a New hire that only worked for 4 days and left. Writing a letter stating that she could not work in such a toxic environment as City Hall… If she only worked for 4 days when did she have any time to socialize with anyone in City Hall? Sorry, but wasn’t this person learning a new job? Did she learn that job in 4 Days?  Now a story comes out voters being denied the right to vote at the Clerks office.  The Clerk in his interview is talking about the applications sent in to the Clerks office and that these absentee ballot applications did not get filled out correctly. This maybe true, but what was asked by the reporter was the fact that more than one person of Arab decent went to the Clerks office asked to vote absentee at City Hall. This under the law is well within the rights of any resident of Dearborn Heights to do. They fill out the application while standing there, and this person did that. When they asked for the ballot to vote they were told not once, twice, but three times that the ballot would be mailed to them. Why?

Below is the press release sent to every City Council members, the Mayor and to news media.

 

Attorney Fatina Abdrabboh, the Director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)-Michigan Office is asking the FBI, US Attorney’s Office, and the Attorney General to look into allegations of voter discrimination in the City of Dearborn Heights. The ADC-Michigan received credible complaints from numerous Arab-Americans alleging that the city of Dearborn Heights deliberately prevented many of them from submitting absentee ballots for the upcoming elections while they are vacationing in the Middle East. In some cases Dearborn Heights residents were told they would be “mailed” absentee ballot applications despite the fact that the residents informed city officials that “mailed” applications would be useless while they were overseas. The ADC-Michigan reached out to Dearborn Heights officials seeking an explanation of why many Arab-Americans were deprived of their right to vote via absentee ballots and why many other applications had not been processed.

Furthermore, the ADC-Michigan demands a thorough investigation into reports of misconduct, intimidation, and bias towards voters by the City of Dearborn Heights. The ADC-Michigan is also concerned about the circumstances surrounding the announcement of the Dearborn city clerk’s resignation amidst the ongoing voter suppression allegations. Also, it is especially troubling that Council Woman Marge Horvath sent a dismissive response basically attempting to guarantee that no violations could have taken place prior to any authority reviewing the evidence.

The Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965 guarantees all ethnic and racial minorities the right to vote without obstacles. Specifically, Section 2 of the VRA prohibits minority vote dilution or any tactics, circumstances, or rules that impede or weaken the ability of minorities to vote and gain fair representation. Section 5 of the VRA enables Arab-Americans and other minorities to challenge discriminatory voting practices. ADC-Michigan Director Attorney Abdrabboh said, “The fact that voter intimidation and voter bias exists 50 years after the Voting Rights Act was passed is shocking” , she continued, “Voting is a cornerstone of democracy and Arab-Americans will not stand by and allow this fundamental right to be violated by any city government anywhere.” If the concerns of the ADC-Michigan are not addressed appropriately, the ADC-Michigan will pursue all necessary legal action to uphold Section 5 of the VRA.

Credible allegations of tactics by government officials to suppress voter rights must be taken seriously. There are credible professional citizens who complained that on different occasions government officials in Dearborn Heights intentionally violated their right to vote.

Here’s the reply to the ADC from Councilwoman Horvath.

Ms. Abdrabbah,
I am sure that your organization will find no wrong doing in our Clerk’s Office.  I have been around here long enough to know that our Clerk’s Office, no matter who is in charge, has been the example of excellence in voter application, voter registration and voting.  I, as a citizen and an elected official stand behind the Clerk’s office as an efficiently run office until someone proves otherwise.  Whatever else you may find fault with in that office integrity in that office should not be one of them.  I find it disheartening that when things don’t go as we like drastic measures sometime are taken.
Sincerely,
Councilwoman Marge Horvath

I’m glad Councilwoman Horvath is sure that wrong doing won’t be found. I’m happy that she has such strong feelings towards the Clerk. However Councilwoman Horvath knows better than anyone in City Hall just what people are capable of doing in this City.  Her and I have discussed it many, many times over the past 4 or 5 years. She is no stranger to what goes on, and just for the record she was not there when this person came into vote absentee at the Clerks office. To make a statement “when things don’t go as we like drastic measures sometime are taken. ” Things didn’t go who’s way? a voter who is asking to vote absentee at City Hall within their rights to do so under the law. 3 times this person was told we will send it to you. This isn’t a matter of something not going someones way, this is someones rights being violated. ‘Disheartening’ indeed Councilwoman Horvath that you don’t see that.

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3 thoughts on “Dearborn Heights City Clerk Resigns at City Council Meeting On July 22, 2014”

  1. I don’t believe that’s the point, snax. It seems to me that from what everyone is saying, IF you go to the Clerk’s office and ask for an Absentee Ballot, you should be able to get one, fill it out right there and turn it in. That was my understanding. My neighbor went in to get one, got it and filled it out and gave it back; but he’s been voting absentee for years in this city. As long as they have proper identification and can prove who they are, there shouldn’t be a problem for anyone – including you. Perhaps it was your first time utilizing the absentee ballot? If it was your first time, you can download an absentee voter ballot “application”, fill it out properly, include any additional documents they require, and mail it in. Once received, your signature will be checked against your voter registration record before a ballot will be issued. Of course, you must be a registered voter within the city before a ballot is issued. Now perhaps all this commotion was because the person was a first-time voter. I don’t know but I DO think these allegations need to be investigated – but CERTAINLY not by anyone in the city. As far as I’m concerned, there are too many problems with people working for this city – and by that I mean the heads of these departments up to and including EVERYONE in the administration AND the city council. Marge seems to be speaking up a little more lately but she’s talkin’ to the rest of the Clown Car. Two members on the City Council don’t know nothin’ (sorry – 3 members) ’bout nothin’. One is dangerous in what he DOESN’T know but acts like he does, another says he’s “got years of experience” but when he speaks it’s pretty evident he doesn’t know what he’s talking about because he doesn’t want to keep up with the technical advances offered to EVERYONE today, the other – well, ’nuff said. Let’s just hope he wins his election and we get rid of him. As far as the Charter, it wouldn’t be the first time, nor the second, nor the third – ad nauseum – this city and this mayor has bypassed the Charter. Don’t even know why they have one any longer except prior administrations wrote it and so it stands. It’s certainly not followed.

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  2. Elected public officials enjoy lot of public power and when they use them and make or accused of making mistakes the tax payers pay to defend them, otherwise nobody will run for office? “Humans makes mistakes”. its more important to vote the right candidates in then trying to recall or remove the elected ones if we don’t agree with what they doing later. When you vote them in you give them the public trust power.

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  3. I am not an Arab American and the first time I requested and absentee ballot I filled out the app and was also told it would be sent to me. I did not cry discrimination I simply went home and waited until I got my ballot in the mail. In my opinion everyone is just sue crazy. Enough already or this City will never come together.

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