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My Vote

By Jeffery Ridgeway

They say I can’t vote.
They say the decision is not mine.
They say I don’t understand.
I guess they think they’re being kind.
I wonder what they would say or think if they only knew
that when they call the President “Our President,”
I want to call him mine, too.

If I never get the chance to vote –
pulling the lever, punching the card or writing his name down –
I stay the same – dumb, misinformed, unchanged, unempowered.
That is what this world expects me to be.

But I want so much more!!!
I want to be the most educated – the most informed –
the most totally changed – the most totally empowered person I can be when I vote.
I can make a difference and then I can say with pride,
“Not yours,
not theirs,
but my President
because I helped put him there.”

Jeffery Ridgeway may be reached at 251/414-5364.


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Retrieved from the Web site of the Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota ( Citation: Gaylord, V., Powers, L., Hayden, M., Smith, J., & Finn, C. (Eds.) (2004). Impact: Feature Issue on Political Activism and Voter Participation by Persons with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities 17(2). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration. Available at

The PDF version of this Impact, with photos and graphics, is also online at

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