Does One Vote Matter?

By Debbie Wuthnow

Does One Vote Matter?

See Why Your Vote Matters

"When the righteous increases, the people rejoice, but when a wicked man rules, people groan."  ~ Proverbs 29:2 (NASB)

On any given Election Day you might be thinking things like:

  • “I don’t like any of my choices”
  • “Lots of my friends that think like me will be voting, I don’t need to go to the polls”
  • “I’m busy today, I don’t have time to vote”

You decide to leave it to the other voters to make a decision that will impact you for years to come. We want to encourage you that your one vote is always important.

The margin of victory of modern elections is often quite small, only a handful of voters can make a significant difference. For example, in a single election cycle in 2018:

  • The election for Kentucky House of Representatives 13th district ended in a one vote margin that elected the Democrat challenger over the Republican incumbent.
  • In Alaska that year, the margin for District 1 of the House of Representatives was a single vote following a recount and state supreme court challenge.
  • Idaho Senate District 15 was decided by an 11 vote margin (0.0615%) after a recount widened the original lead of only 6 votes for the Republican incumbent.
  • District 5A of the Minnesota House of Representatives was decided by 11 votes, a margin of 0.06510% of the votes cast.

These are only a few examples from relatively recent elections where the decisions made by a mere handful of voters on a single Election Day in 2018 made a difference in the outcome. None of us know (until it’s too late) if our vote might be the one that would change the outcome.

You may recall from news reports at the time the Virginia House of Delegates District 94 race from 2017. After a close result in the initial count led to the inevitable recounts and challenges, the election was declared a tie by the Virginia Supreme Court. In January 2018, the winner was determined by drawing lots. That result determined which party had control of the House of Delegates (51-49). There were 23,891 official votes cast in a district with a population of 79,429, one additional vote for either of the two major candidates could have determined the outcome. Can you imagine leaving the result up to chance?

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