Many times, people hear friends or coworkers say that they arenít going to vote. The reason? They figure their one vote wonít make a difference.
History has provided numerous examples of why thatís not true, but how do we document the point?
The World Web Web can be an incredible source of information. Itís like an encyclopedia that is constantly being updated, but thousands of times larger. One of the problems with it, though, is that itís not always a good source of accurate information.
Still, with primary election day approaching in Texas, I thought it would be a good time to gather a list of ďone voteĒ decisions. I offered a short list of such situations ó all from reasonably reliable sources ó two years ago before the primary elections. But since then, Iíve found a Web site hosted by Douglas County, Nevada, that offers many more. And we all know we can trust government to give us straight answers.
So, with a hope and a prayer, and a couple of crossed fingers, hereís an updated list of evidence that one vote most certainly can make a difference.
In 1776, one vote made English, not German, the American language.
In 1800, Thomas Jefferson was elected president over Aaron Burr by one vote in the House of Representatives, breaking a tie in the electoral college.
In 1845, the shift of one vote avoided a deadlock and brought Texas into the Union, 27-25. A senator from Indiana changed his mind and voted in favor; he himself had won election by just one vote.
In 1846, President Polkís request for a Declaration of War against Mexico passed by one vote.
In 1867, the Alaska purchase was ratified by one vote, paving the way for future statehood.
In 1850, one vote brought California into the Union.
In 1859, one vote brought Oregon into the Union.
In 1868, one vote saved President Andrew Johnson from conviction following his impeachment.
In 1875, one vote made France a republic, and sent an old, established monarchy to the history books.
In 1876, one vote in the Electoral College made Rutherford B. Hayes president.
In 1923, one vote gave leadership of the Nationalist Socialist Party to Adolph Hitler.
In 1941, one vote allowed the expansion of the Selective Service Act just weeks before Pearl Harbor.
In 1962, the governors of Maine, Rhode Island and North Dakota were elected by an average of one vote per precinct.
In 1997, Vermont State representative Sydney Nixon was seated as an apparent one vote winner, 570 to 569. Mr. Nixon resigned when the State House determined, after a recount, that he had actually lost to his opponent Robert Emond 572 to 571.
A lot is at stake in our elections, and one vote ó your vote ó might be the difference. I hope you give your vote a chance to do that on Tuesday, assuming you havenít already taken the opportunity to cast your ballot in early voting.
Gene Deason is managing editor of the Brownwood Bulletin. His column appears on Friday. He may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.