One vote can matter

Published 1:13 pm Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Don’t believe your vote makes a difference? It does.

Democracy North Carolina, a nonpartisan voting rights advocacy organization, conducted a study that shows in 2015, there were 31 elections in North Carolina decided by a single vote in each of those elections. The study also found that 69 municipal elections in 2015 were decided by five or fewer votes in each of those elections.

According to the Charlotte Observer, Agnes Joines lost her seat on the Sparta town council after she lost a coin toss, and in Cornelius, a name drawn from a hat decided the election that sent Thom Tillis to Raleigh and later to Washington, D.C.

In the Washington City Council election in 2011, Richard Brooks defeated incumbent council member Gil Davis for a seat on the council by three votes, 559 votes to 556 votes, according to Kellie Harris Hopkins, election director for Beaufort County. Hopkins said the number of elections decided by five or fewer votes surprised her.

“I was surprised to see how many places had very close contests,” said Bob Hall, Democracy North Carolina’s executive director. “Of course, many of these are small towns but the elections involve mayors and even several ties settled by a coin toss or another method that follows state law.”

At the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson in 1868, the U.S. Senate voted on the 11th article of impeachment, which accused Johnson of illegally firing Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. Thirty-five senators voted “guilty” and 19 senators voted “not guilty,” thereby falling short by one vote of the two-thirds majority required for conviction under a provision in the U.S. Constitution.

These are a few examples of one voting making a difference that matters. That vote you make, or don’t make, could mean the difference between good government and bad government, a tax increase or tax cut and a representative who looks out for taxpayers’ pockets instead of lining his own pockets.

Yes, one vote matters.