Hello. My name is Jessalyn Akerman Frank, one of the outreach specialists for the Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans. I have enjoyed the opportunity to travel through the state of Minnesota to meet different people and ask them why voting is important to them. I loved their answers. I remember talking with one man up North and he said that in the past, deaf people could not vote. He explained that his access to communication is limited, in the North, more so. There are few interpreters, captions on televisions, and access to emergency needs. He explained that he wants to make sure the right people help to support the quality of his life. I remember a woman I talked with and she explained that job opportunities is limited and it is a challenge. She wants the ability to grow as an individual, expand her services but the opportunity has been limited. The woman wondered why, is it because she is deaf? I also talked with a friend who is deafblind and she stated that services such as SSPs are necessary for her and that SSPs enhance the quality of her life. I know from hearing their stories, that is why we vote. I will vote on November 8, 2016 on Tuesday because it is my right. I remember learning about the day women could not vote. Their hard work, the marches, fighting for our rights. I must honor that and support it. In addition, I remember the day when people who identified as LGBTQI could not marry. I was one of them and because of the people who worked to fight for my rights, I was able to get married. I vote for the people who support me. My right to vote, I cherish it. You must value/cherish your right to vote. It is important. I will see you out on Voting Day, November 8th. Don’t forget. Bye. Happy Voting Day!
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