Does one vote count? Just ask Penny Pullen or William Crawford.
- Kerby Anderson
Tomorrow is the election. You may have already voted, like tens of millions of Americans. But if you haven’t voted, I encourage you to vote because your vote might make the difference.
In the past, many groups circulated articles and e-mails talking about the importance of one vote. In the last few elections, we haven’t needed these reminders because the some of the elections in the last few decades provide numerous illustrations.
For example, George W. Bush won the 2000 Presidential election by the slimmest of margins. His election essentially was decided by 537 votes in Florida. He won re-election in the 2004 presidential election again by a very slim margin. He won the 20 electoral votes from the state of Ohio with 50.8 percent of the vote.
Over the years, I have collected some stories of elections that resulted in a tie. You can’t get any closer than that. Consider the story of Penny Pullen in Illinois. A number of years ago, it appeared she lost a primary election by 31 votes. However, there were many irregularities in the ballots. Judge Francis Barth concluded that the election was a draw and ordered a coin toss. She lost the election on a coin toss. Later she found out that many members of her church hadn’t bothered to vote in the primary election and could have made a crucial difference.
In 2006, there was an even more interesting story of an electoral tie. William Crawford and Jean Miller both received an identical number of votes in an election in Ohio. William Crawford was especially upset. You might ask why. Well, it turned out that his two sons failed to vote that day. His son Jim lives across the street from him. His other son Andy is a college student who lives at home with him. Neither took the time to go to the polls.
Would the outcome of these elections be different if a few people in Penny Pullen’s church had bothered to vote or if either of William Crawford’s sons had bothered to vote? Does one vote count? Just ask Penny Pullen or William Crawford.