After Friday Prayer at the Oakland Islamic Center, Mamoun Kund, a 51-year-old Sudanese-American, sat at a table and did something he had not done in the 11 years he has been a citizen: He registered to vote. Until recently, he had no interest, he said, but now "I hear talk about Muslims, Hispanics and women."

"It doesn't make sense," he added. "Americans aren't like that."

Upstairs in the area for women, Dina Agag, who wore a bright red head scarf, picked up voter registration forms for herself and five members of her family. As she did, a friend whispered, "This is the most important vote in our life."

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