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Omar Sabir: Champion of transparent elections, fighting voter apathy through community engagement.

Jul 08, 2024 12:00PM ● By Dr. Eric Nzeribe, DBA, MS

Philadelphia City Commissioner Omar Sabir embodies the spirit of dedication and community service. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Chairman Sabir graduated from Cheyney University, the nation’s first Historically Black Colleges and Universities. 

Omar Sabir’s tenure as the Chairman of the Philadelphia City Commissioners has been to focus on combating voter apathy and ensuring transparent, secure, and inclusive elections. His grassroots origins and unwavering commitment to community engagement have made him a trusted public official fervent about voter education so that all registered Philadelphians could express themselves by letting their voice is heard. His leadership inspires confidence in the electoral process and demonstrates the power of dedicated public service. Sabir’s career began humbly, driving State Representative Louise Williams Bishop, when he first encountered FunTimes Magazine at a community event. His career path in public service continued when he was elected to a position in traffic court, a role that was later dissolved. 




Sabir’s persistence led him to work for Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Hughes, where he spent six years supporting policies to simplify voter registration and participation. His efforts were instrumental in establishing initiatives like Vote Philly Vote, which aimed to increase voter turnout and registration in Philadelphia.

When former City Commissioner Anthony Clark retired, Sabir saw an opportunity to further his mission. Elected as one of three City Commissioners in November 2019 (Lisa M. Deeley and Seth Bluestein are the other two commissioners), he soon faced the unprecedented challenge of conducting elections during the raging COVID-19 pandemic. Under his leadership, remarkably, Philadelphia managed to effectively facilitate one of the most secure elections in its history, even amidst threats and civil unrest. This achievement underscored Sabir’s resilience and dedication to making sure that every vote counts. 

As Chairman, Sabir’s vision for the City Commissioner’s Office sharply focuses on efficiency, voter apathy, and access through community outreach. He has spearheaded initiatives to streamline the payment process for election board workers and increase their compensation, recognizing their critical role in the electoral process. 




Additionally, Sabir has emphasized the importance of engaging with grassroots organizations and media outlets to enhance voter education and participation. One of the significant challenges Sabir has addressed is voter turnout. Reflecting on the low participation in a recent primary, Sabir cited the scheduling of the election on Passover and a lack of competitive races as barriers. 

However, he remains optimistic about future elections, emphasizing the need for comprehensive civic education and outreach. He has engaged nonprofits, businesses, and faith-based groups to inform and mobilize voters. 

Sabir’s approach to combating misinformation and ensuring the integrity of elections is multifaceted. He acknowledges the potential risks posed by artificial intelligence and other technologies that can be used to spread disinformation. To counteract these threats, Sabir has focused on effective communication and transparency, making sure that accurate information is readily available to the public. His office has invested significantly in advertising and outreach, particularly through community newspapers and radio stations that directly reach local audiences. 




As a staunch advocate for inclusion. Sabir has worked to ensure that all Philadelphians, including those who have been formerly incarcerated or lack permanent housing, are aware of their voting rights. He has dispelled myths about voting restrictions for these groups, emphasizing that once individuals have regained their freedom, they are eligible to vote in Pennsylvania. This commitment to equity extends to language access, with the City Commissioner’s Office providing resources for voters who speak various languages. 

Despite the inevitable challenges of public service, Sabir remains deeply connected to the community. He is actively involved and continues to shop, use public amenities, and engage with constituents across Philadelphia. His accessibility and willingness to listen to residents’ concerns highlight his tireless dedication to serving the city.




Reflecting on his accomplishments as the Chair of City Commissioner, Sabir said that if he could start over, he would invest even more in community outreach and advertising. He is keenly aware that these actions help to discourage disinformation and keep informed about the electoral process. With this forward-thinking approach, Commissioner Sabir plans to continue to advocate for more critical digital resources and traditional advertising to reach a broader audience. And connecting with all diverse corners of the community is what it’s all about for this determined man on a mission.

 Dr. Eric John Nzeribe is the Publisher of FunTimes Magazine and has a demonstrated history of working in the publishing industry since 1992. His interests include using data to understand and solve social issues, narrative stories, digital marketing, community engagement, and online/print journalism features. Dr. Nzeribe is a social media and communication professional with certificates in Digital Media for Social Impact from the University of Pennsylvania, Digital Strategies for Business: Leading the Next-Generation Enterprise from Columbia University, and a Master of Science (MS) in Publication Management from Drexel University and a Doctorate in Business Administration from Temple University.

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