The CAIR-Chicago team, as a part of national non-partisan Muslim political mobilization effort, held Eidul Adha voter registration drives at major mosques in the Chicagoland Area. Volunteers registered eligible United States citizens to vote at Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview on Tuesday, January 10 and at Islamic Foundation in Villa Park on Wednesday, January 11. According to Governmental Relations Coordinator Sadiya Ahmed, “CAIR-Chicago’s Eidul Adha was one of the most successful campaigns nationally. We were able to register about eighty people during these two days alone.”
Volunteers worked both days, registering people as they came in for Eid prayer. As they walked past the CAIR-Chicago tables set up in heavy traffic areas of the mosques, people found themselves engaged in conversations with the volunteers about the importance of voting. “A lot of people were surprised to see how simple it was to register to vote. However, the other half of the equation is having those people go out to the polls on Election Day and casting their votes.” According to CAIR-National, the 2000 election was when Muslims first started participating in a bloc vote. During the 2004 election, Muslims were even more organized in key states like Ohio and Florida.
The voter registration drives at the Mosque Foundation and Islamic Foundation are only two of many drives that are being conducted by CAIR-Chicago during the month of January. With the primaries fast approaching, the Governmental Relations Department is working to register eligible Muslim voters in the Chicagoland area during Friday prayer at local mosques, before the late February deadline. The Illinois State Board of Elections requires individuals to be registered at least thirty days before the upcoming election to be eligible to vote in the state.
These primary elections determine who will run in the midterm elections which are set to take place in November 2006. The winners of the primaries will run on their parties’ tickets for local, state, and national offices. In Illinois, 2006 also marks the race for the office of governor. “Our goal is to bring Muslims out to the polls so that their presence is visible, not only to the general public, but the media as well,” said Ahmed.
The 2006 election will be an interesting time politically, according to Ahmed. United States House of Representatives member Henry Hyde (R-IL) of the 6th Congressional District has announced his retirement, creating a hotly contested race between Democrats and Republicans for the vacancy. Islamic Foundation in Villa Park is located in Congressman Hyde’s district and serves a large Muslim constituency. Areas such as Schaumburg and Rolling Meadows, with a large Muslim population, in the 8th Congressional District of Congresswoman Melissa Bean (D-IL), and Bridgeview and Chicago Ridge in the 3rd Congressional District of Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-IL) have also been identified as potentially hotly contested races.
If you are interested in volunteering for CAIR-Chicago’s voter registration drives or would like more information, please contact Governmental Relations Coordinator Sadiya Ahmed at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-212-1520.
copyright © 2006, cairchicago.org