Interview with Nancy Jefferson

How did you change the minds of the people here to believe that their votes could make a difference.


Well I think POWER, when we organized a group called POWER, the POWER group, ah, that welfare group, which was non-voting population. I think they never realized. I think that people thought that they had to accept whatever legislation that came to them whatever, when they said, cut, cut your welfare, they had to accept that. There was nothing they could do about it. And when that legislator said, they don't vote, and then we started to organize the collective mind of individuals and, and say that your one vote can make a difference. You know, if everybody takes the position that my vote counts and collectively they do, even one vote can make a difference and people got it. They got it because it was personal. And they, and they decided to try it and it worked and that's what, I think that gave a base of, of, understanding the voting power in this city that has never been before because it, we were used to the old machine, we were used to, ah, they going to do what they want to do anyway so what, why should I go vote, and it, and it worked for, for several years because, ah, ah, the old machine always had, ah, say out of 80 thousand folks they controlled three thousand votes, that, that was all that ever elected an alderman or anything. Three thousand people came out and that's what they got, three thousand, two hundred, all that. So, 70, 80 thousand folks never bothered even go vote and that was exactly what the machine wanted because they were elected by the three thousand people. They didn't want these uncontrolled people out here to ever think that their vote counted and we made that happen through power.