By Charles Sercombe
The School Board election is two months away, but already there are rumblings of a campaign.
Earlier this week, an associate of candidate Anam Miah posted photos of promotional items, a coffee mug and a notebook, with the names of Miah and four other Bengali candidates running for school board.
Was this a slate?
Naz Huda, who posted the photos on his Facebook page and has since taken them down, said there is no slate and that it was merely an exercise. He said there are no actual items being produced or distributed.
Miah denied any involvement in the project, and said as far as he knew there is no slate. Asked if he would join one, he said not likely.
“I don’t believe a slate is called for at this time,” Miah said. “I don’t think it will do anything positive.”
Miah, who is one of eight candidates running for a six-year term seat, is also a city councilmember.
The other Bengali candidates include Mohammad Huda, Ataur Khan, Ripon Lasker and M. Alwey Hussain.
The November election for school board is almost unprecedented. There are 15 candidates vying for five seats on the board, three seats with the full six-year term, one seat each with four years remaining in the term and two years remaining.
In other election news, about 100 absentee ballot applications were submitted recently to the City Clerk’s Office, which caused a bit of stir considering the controversy over last year’s handling of absentee ballots.
City Clerk August Gitschlag said there was nothing wrong with the way the applications were submitted. A Bengali group, working with former Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer, filled out preliminary information on the ballots for voters, which is allowed by law.
Gitschlag said he had to return about 25 of the applications because voters failed to completely fill out the form.
Brewer did not return a call for comment.
As for the four Hamtramck men accused of illegally handling absentee ballots from last year’s primary and general elections, one of the defendants, Mohammed Abdur Rahman, 61, has agreed to plead guilty to avoid trial.
He, along with Armani Asad, 33, Mohammed Russell, 32 and Salim Ahmed, 50, faces felony charges for turning in absentee ballots from voters who were not family members or part of their household.
The three remaining defendants are scheduled for trial on Sept. 9 in Wayne County Circuit Court.
If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of five years in prison.