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Rallying the Afghan Vote in Fremont

By Francesca Segre

Most Afghan-Americans came here as refugees — fleeing war, invasions and political repression. Yet many don’t exercise their right to vote in U.S. elections. The nonprofit group The Afghan Coalition is trying to change that dynamic, and they’re rallying voters in the heart of California’s Afghan population — Fremont.

Francesca Segre/KQED

The group organized a forum recently for Afghan-American voters to meet the four candidates running for mayor of the city. At the event, candidates fielded questions about immigration and how to combat Islamophobia. Aziz Akbari, an 18-year-old Muslim and one of the mayoral candidates, tried to warm up the crowd by introducing himself in Farsi. But the candidates know it’s complicated to encourage Afghan voter turnout.

Many Afghans are reluctant to vote because they were never given a chance to in their homeland. Continue reading