Newsmaker Interviews
5:56 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

How Muslim voters can influence the November elections

In the lead up to the November elections we’re hearing a lot about different voting blocs.

Well, the Michigan Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has released a detailed presidential election summary and legislative scorecard focused on issues of concern for Muslims here in Michigan.

Dawud Walid is the Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Michigan. He tells Jennifer White there was been little effort to court Muslim voters this election year.

"Definitely not, in the 2008 election the McCain campaign basically ignored us, and the Obama campaign however did have a special outreach coordinator that reached out to the Arab-American community as well as the American-Muslim communities. Those two communities are not synonymous,” Walid said.

But he says there has not been the same kind of outreach from the Obama campaign this election year, and no word from the Romney campaign.

“We have not heard a peep from the Romney campaign. As a matter of fact we’ve been hearing some things that sound a little hostile. He just gave his speech at VMI (Virginia Military Institute) about his foreign policy. And he made a statement that so called Islamists want to wage perpetual war with the west. So it appears that Mr. Romney is engaged in the politics of fear,” he said.

When asked what kind of impact Muslim Americans could have on the presidential race and on local races, Walid said:

"With the local races that are in the areas in which Muslims are a significant population and block, we believe that more Muslims will be voted in, in local races and particularly in the state of Michigan. From the national level we believe that there are certain key states where the Muslim community has a large enough percentage of eligible voters in a close race that the Muslim community could actually swing the vote one way or another. In Michigan, Ohio as well as in Virginia if the election goes to a few thousand votes or maybe ten thousand, fifteen thousand votes we believe that the Muslim community is a large enough voting block that we could influence the election, of who gets the electoral votes in those particular states,” Walid said.