Council election is coming up

Next Tuesday, Nov. 5, is election day in Hamtramck. File photo


By Charles Sercombe
Hamtramck voters will be heading to the polls next Tuesday (Nov. 5).
The only item on the ballot is the race for city council. Six candidates are lined up. The top three vote-getters will serve a four-year term, starting on Jan. 1.
So far, it’s been an almost non-existent election season, with barely a peep coming from candidates.
Even two candidate forums failed to generate much interest. The first one, held before the August primary election, attracted only three candidates.
The same turnout resulted at another forum last week, with candidates Carrie Beth Lasley, Robert Zwolak (a former councilmember and former city clerk) and Nayeem Choudhury the only ones to show up.
Candidates Mohammed Hassan (a former councilmember), Mohammed Alsomiri (the highest vote-getter in the August primary) and council incumbent Saad Almasmari were no-shows.
Candidates not participating in these forums is nothing new. It’s a trend that started several years ago. Why a candidate would pass up an opportunity to meet with voters is not entirely clear, although there is plenty of speculation.
The reasons range from candidates just not being serious, or for some of the immigrant candidates, being self-conscious about not speaking English well, or instead, focusing on their own ethnic communities, and lately, concentrating on absentee ballots.
On Facebook, Mayor Karen Majewski suggested that some candidates’ focus on absentee ballots lead to illegal tactics – such as offering voters money for their support.
“It’s common knowledge. Ask residents of the Col. Hamtramck Homes what price they’ve been offered for their blank ballots,” Majewski said on the Facebook page called “I love Hamtramck.
“There is horse trading going on, and if some candidates aren’t showing up for public forums, my educated guess is it’s because they’ve already counted up their absentees and see no need to address the general public.”
It should be noted that the mayor does not offer proof of this practice. However, in the recent past there have been candidates and residents convicted of illegal handling of AV ballots.
If absentee ballots are an issue of concern, there is no sign yet that there is a significant effort going on to address the issue.
City Clerk August Gitschlag said there have been 1,400 AV ballots mailed out. So far, as of Thursday when The Review went to press, about 700 have been returned.
Since the council race is the only item on the ballot, voter turnout is expected to be low.
Voting absentee has become easier for Michigan voters. You no longer need a reason to ask for an AV ballot, since state election law has been changed.
And you can also register and vote on election day – another change in the election law.
As long as you are at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen and prove that you have lived in Hamtramck for at least 30 days, you can register next Tuesday and vote on the same day for the Hamtramck election.
You can also vote this Saturday in city hall from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Nov. 1, 2019

5 Responses to Council election is coming up

  1. Nasr Hussain

    November 2, 2019 at 3:42 am

    Clarification of the candidates’ positions in regards to recreational marijuana:

    Zwolak & Lasley are for marijuana (recreational) manufacturing & distribution faciliites in Hamtramck.

    Almasmari, Alsomiri, Hassan, & Nayeem are against any type of recreational marijuana facilities in Hamtramck.

    Choose wisely.

  2. Nasr Hussain

    November 2, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    “It’s common knowledge. Ask residents of the Col. Hamtramck Homes what price they’ve been offered for their blank ballots,”

    This statement coming from the mayor is very disappointing.

    If that’s true, then why don’t they report these illegal solicitations to the authorities.

    Remeber that similar accusations were leveled against Nayeem Choudhury by “anonymous” complainant which resulted in a state investigation that went no where.

  3. Fatema Hossain

    November 2, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    “It should be noted the mayor does not offer proof of this practice.”

    This type of political mudslinging needs to stop. It is believed by many that the mayor has been making these vague allegations to damage the candidacies of certain candidates and she wants to see Zwolak and Lasley elected so she can have a majority slate on the upcoming City Council to be seated in January.

    Karen Majewski was a beneficiary of vote fraud allegations against others in 2017 when she beat Councilperson Hassan by 22%. Those vote fraud allegations were never substantiated but served Majewski’s interests very, very well.

  4. Nasr Hussain

    November 3, 2019 at 3:09 pm

  5. Dennis Nowak

    November 3, 2019 at 10:33 pm

    Please go out and vote for Robert Zwolak and Carrie Beth Lasley as truly knowledgeable and competent candidates for City Council. Both have campaigned hard and truly care for city residents.

    Remember this Tuesday is Election Day and Hamtramck’s future depends on complete citizen participation.

    Our U.S.serviceman died to preserve our democracy and we can honor them by exercising our right to vote.

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