• Gary Woronchak

A simple guide to Dearborn's primary election ballot

Voting in Dearborn’s August 3 primary election begins this week with the availability of absentee ballots, so it’s a good time to start getting familiar with what you'll be voting on.

Here’s a quick look at the ballot, which includes an “elimination round” for city elected positions and two proposals, one that affects your property taxes and one that will impact the structure of your city government.


Seven candidates are running for Mayor. The top two vote-getters will appear on the November 2 ballot, with the winner in November elected Mayor for a four-year term starting January 1, 2022. Mayor Jack O’Reilly is not running for re-election.

The candidates for Mayor, in alphabetical order, are:

Hussein Berry Susan Dabaja Abdullah Hammoud Jim Parrelly Tom Tafelski Kalette Shari Willis Gary Woronchak

You can vote for one of the seven.


Eighteen candidates are running for City Council. The top 14 in the primary election will appear on the November 2 ballot, and the top seven finishers in November will be elected to seats on the Council for terms of four years starting January 1, 2022.

The candidates for City Council, in alphabetical order, are:

Ziad Abdulmalik

Robert Abraham Jonathon Akkari Saeid Mashgari Alawathi Kamal Alsawafy Houda Berri Erin Byrnes Silvio Davis Kamel Elkadri Lola Elzein Gary Enos Khodr Farhat Mustapha Hammoud Leslie Herrick Sam Luqman Khalil Othman Ken Paris Michael Sareini

You can vote for not more than seven of the 18. The “not more than” is an important distinction. You don’t have to vote for seven, but you can vote for any number not exceeding seven.

Four incumbents are on the list of candidates, Abraham, Byrnes, Herrick and Sareini. Which means there will be at least three new faces on the Council starting next January 1.


I haven’t included any information beyond names and council incumbency, because this is meant to be a quick and simple look at the ballot. Voters have ample opportunity to learn about the candidates. Most have websites and Facebook pages, and there are other ways to learn about and compare candidates, like the Vote411.org website set up by the League of Women Voters.


It’s a simple question: Shall the Charter of the City of Dearborn be reviewed, updated and revised by a Charter Commission? The City Charter is a voter-approved document that outlines the structure of city government. The current Charter took effect January 1, 2008, and it includes a clause that requires voters be asked in this primary election whether the document should be studied, updated and revised. A yes vote would mean we will elect a nine-member Charter Revision Commission this November to embark on what will probably be a two-year process to put a revised Charter before voters for approval. A no vote would mean we would continue to operate under the current Charter. If the current Charter is kept in effect, any section or provision can be amended by a vote of the people at a future election. You can learn much more about the Charter revision issue by clicking here for a more detailed explanation that I published earlier. It includes a link to the current City Charter, so you can see for yourself what is contained in a charter. In fact, if you want to skip my commentary and just have a look at the current charter, click here.


This question is headed: Dearborn Library Millage Renewal for 6 years.

It’s pretty straightforward. Voters approved a separate tax for library services in 2011, after the city’s tax revenue took a hit from the housing market collapse a few years earlier. That tax will expire after it appears on this summer’s tax bill. A yes vote will let the tax continue beyond this year.

The City Council approved a ballot proposal to ask voters to renew the 1-mill tax for six years, meaning it would expire after appearing on the 2027 summer tax bill.

One mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of a home’s taxable value. If your house has a market value of around $150,000, your taxable value is roughly $75,000, so the tax costs you around $75 per year. Tax bills will be mailed on July 1, so you’ll be able to see exactly how much the library millage costs you.

The library millage generates $3.7 million each year directly for library services. According to the ballot language, it accounts for 60 percent of the libraries' annual operating budget.

That’s everything on the ballot: Primary elections to determine which candidates advance to the November election, and two ballot proposals.

If you have questions on the proposals or any of this, don’t hesitate to ask. Send email to gary4dearborn@gmail.com


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