Somali-Americans Lend A Ride To Get Out The Vote

Nov 8, 2016

Outside the Abubakar Assidiq Islamic Center on the Far West Side of Columbus, Sahra Ali has been up since 7 a.m. to drive friends and community members to cast their ballots at the polls.

This is Ali's third presidential election after coming to the U.S. from Somalia in 2001. She says this year, she's seen a higher voter turnout among Columbus's Somali community.

In past elections, Ali says many people didn't prioritize voting. Maybe they were too busy, or couldn't get a ride to a polling station.

Ali says that this year there's been a high level of interest about the election, with many people voting early. She believes this mobilization is a result of the anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric supported by GOP candidate Donald Trump.

"We fighting back to show him that this is our voice," Ali says. "This is our vote. So we're raising our voices."

Community leader Lul Warsome says this year the stakes are high for members of the Muslim and refugee communities.

"We have to push back and we have to exercise our rights and vote and show the world that we are Americans - despite our background, ethnic, color and creed," Warsome says.