a single vote, revisited

Today is Election Day in VA. This time of year is when Americans around the world either journey to their polling places to cast their votes or mail in their ballots. And every year, my mind goes back to high school, to an event that could’ve been so ordinary. I wrote about it last year, but I think it’s worth revisiting, and since it’s my blog… 😉

So here it is, a post I called A Single Vote.

This time of year, everyone’s talking politics, campaigns, amendments. There are debates, both on tv and in the office, and more political advertisements than a person could possibly need. All to get your vote. And sometimes it seems like one vote is just a drop in the bucket. Sometimes it is.

But sometimes one vote is the pebble that tips the balance.

It was just an ordinary school election. As Student Body VP, part of my duties included counting the votes for the Freshman President election. There were two people running. It was a simple enough task. Being a good little organized student, I developed a chart so I could keep the votes divided by homeroom before I tallied.

So I counted the votes from each homeroom. Then recounted them. Satisfied, I moved on to the final tally.

I stopped. Stared.

That’s right: one vote difference.

So I counted everything again.

Same result. One vote determined the winner.

I took the results to my advisor. His eyes bugged out when he saw the tally. “Don’t be offended, but um, I’m going to count this again, just to make sure.” He got the same result.

I know there’s a huge difference between a school election and a national one. But the lesson is the same. One vote, even if it seems buried in a landslide, has the potential to change everything.

Yes, it’s more likely that yours will be one of many votes that influences the results. But sometimes a situation arises when a handful of votes makes the difference. This opportunity doesn’t announce itself. It doesn’t come stomping onto the scene like a political ad onto the tv. We never know when it will happen. It’s covert like that. But you never know – yours could be that vote.

So vote wisely, and mind the hanging chad.

If you want to hear my thoughts on voting last year, you can read them here.