2016-06-30
(RNS) A Muslim advocacy group will launch the largest-ever voter registration drive aimed at American Muslims, a small but crucial swing vote in battleground states like Michigan, California and New Jersey.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based advocacy group, will send out thousands of voter guides before Sept. 15, which has been designated American Muslim Voter Registration Day by CAIR.

CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad said the effort represents greater political activism among American Muslims, as well as an increased awareness of issues that directly affect the Muslim community.

"Muslims have a duty to make a positive impact on this society, and voting is one of the most effective means to accomplish this goal," Awad said in a statement.

The materials provided by CAIR's Research Center include instructions on registering voters, brochures, candidate surveys and organizational materials. CAIR will also provide materials on why Muslims should become engaged in the political process, something many Muslims have been hesitant to do in the past.

There are an estimated 2 million to 6 million Muslims in the United States, and surveys indicate Muslim voters are roughly split in their support of Al Gore and George W. Bush. A recent CAIR poll showed that 90 percent of respondents planned on voting in November.

The survey also found that 64 percent of Muslims voted in the last election, which is higher than the national voter turnout of about 50 percent. Many analysts say Muslim voters could be crucial in hotly contested states with large Muslim populations, such as Michigan, New Jersey and California.

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