Tuesday, October 7, 2008

There really is ‘power in one’

Just how important are you? Odds are that a loved one would say you are mighty important. No argument here. There’s also no argument that your importance carries a great deal of significance for politicians and advocates/opponents of ballot initiatives./p>

While the statement on voting might seem to be a pie-in-the-sky notion, there have been countless occasions when it has proven to be true. A little research uncovers some dandies when a lone voter affected the outcome of an election.

In 1820, Thomas Hart Benton became one of the first U.S. senators for Missouri by a one-vote margin.

In 1839, Edward Everett lost his re-election bid for Massachusetts governor to Marcus Morton by one vote out of more than 100,000 ballots cast.

In 1911, Richard H. Koch received the only vote cast in the primaries for the Prohibition nomination to become the common pleas court judge in Schuylkill County, PA.

In August 2008, Angela Tuttle was elected constable of Hancock County, TN, when she submitted her name as a write-in candidate. The lone vote was enough to win because nobody else was vying for the position.

Other instances show how one more vote could have resulted in a different outcome of an election. In 1948, if Thomas Dewey had received one vote more per precinct in Ohio and California, he would have won the presidency from Harry S. Truman.

In 1960, one more vote per precinct in Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey and Texas would have won the election for Richard Nixon over John F. Kennedy.

On other occasions the tallying of votes was unable to decide a victor. In 1986, Owen Smeby and Art Kunze finished in a tie to become the mayor of Long Lake, MN. Smeby eventually won the race on a coin toss.

In 1994, Randall Luthi and Larry Call tied for a seat in the Wyoming House. Luthi was declared the winner when a ping pong ball bearing his name was pulled from the cowboy hat of Gov. Mike Sullivan.

During these instances and others like them the importance of taking the time to cast a single ballot was vital to the outcome. Of course, an election doesn’t have to be a nail-biter to be worthy of your vote. It is your right. It is your voice.