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Your vote does count

November 1, 2018

Voting is a right, privilege and honor and we shouldn’t shrug it off. On some level, every vote does count, and regardless of how we feel about one extra vote counting, we should step up to fulfil our constitutional duty. Here are some illustrations of close votes.

The Bush and Gore 2000 election was actually settled by one vote – the Supreme Court settled that contest with a 5-4 decision awarding Florida’s 25 electoral college votes to George W. Bush giving him a 271-266 victory. Al Gore won the popular vote that year 50,999,897 to 50,456,002. In the Florida recounts every single vote was recounted, examined and analyzed, somewhat contentiously and inconclusively, thus the Supreme Court decision. Very few shifts in the Florida votes or perhaps in some other states would have given a decisive win to Al Gore.

Similarly in 2016 Hillary Clinton with an almost 3 million lead in the popular votes could have won if a very small number of voters changed their votes, or if some of the Hillary supporters that stayed home voted. While Trump had a clear win in the Electoral College, 304 to 227, he won 4 states, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, by an aggregate total 190,655 out of 22,356,237 votes cast in those states. That is .85%. The four states had 75 Electoral College votes. A swing of 39 electoral college votes could reversed Trump’s win. Looking at the numbers that might have been difficult, but the point is that votes do count.

Four other presidential close ones were Kennedy’s 1960 win over Nixon where the difference was 118,000 out of 68 million votes; the 1876 election where Hayes with 250,000 fewer popular votes won the presidency over Tilden after Congress, in a joint session, declared Hayes the victor with a 185-184 final result; the 1800 election of Jefferson over Burr that was decided by Congress because of a tie in the electoral votes; and the 1796 John Adams win over Jefferson was with a 71-68 electoral margin. I could go on and on, but the point here, again, is that votes count.

Other important votes decided by small differences was Andrew Johnson escaping conviction at his impeachment trial by 1 vote in the Senate; Vice President Mike Pence has already cast nine tie breaking votes in the Senate while coincidentally Biden did not have to vote even once in his eight years as VP; Obamacare’s winning margin was razor thin; and the 2017 Tax Cut passed by 1 vote in the Senate. Many Supreme Court decisions prevailed by 1 vote in close 5-4 decisions. One vote within some state delegations in the Continental Congress permitted the Declaration of Independence to prevail, and across the pond Britain’s vote to exit the European Union was by a very small margin. Voting is important and all votes matter.

There are too many countries that do not have the free and open elections we have here and that opportunity should not be squandered. This Tuesday’s vote for Congress can effect a change in the makeup of our Government, or maintain the Republican majority. There is also a third party candidate – apathy – that should not be permitted to prevail. However you lean, it is important to participate. Vote on Tuesday – your vote does count.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Bill McGovern permalink
    November 1, 2018 4:58 pm

    In Australia, failing to vote will get you a fine of $500. They take it very seriously, and will track you down.

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