The Importance of one vote

The most often heard excuse for not voting in an election is “my one little vote won’t make a difference.” Yet history is full of instances proving the enormous power of one single vote. In many cases, the course of nations has been changed because one individual ballot was cast — or not cast — depending upon your point of view.

If you think that your vote won’t make a difference, please consider the following:

1. In 1645, one vote gave Oliver Cromwell control of England.

2. In 1649, one vote literally cost King Charles I of England his head. The vote to behead him was 67 against and 68 for — the ax fell thanks to one vote.

3. In 1714, one vote placed King George I on the throne of England and restored the monarchy.

4. In 1776, one vote gave America the English language instead of German (at least according to folk lore.)

5. Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and Rutherford B. Hayes all became US Presidents by a margin of one vote.

6. Texas, California, Idaho, Washington and Oregon all became part of the USA by one vote. The map of the US would have been very different.

7. In 1846, a one vote margin in the U.S. Senate approved President Polk’s request for a Declaration of War against Mexico.

8. In 1867 – The Alaska purchase was ratified in the Senate by two votes, paving the way for future statehood in 1958.

9. In 1868, one vote in the U.S. Senate saved President Andrew Johnson from impeachment.

10. In 1875, a one vote margin changed France from a monarchy to a republic. In 1940, the vote taken to maintain its status as a republic also failed. By one vote.

11. In 1916, if presidential hopeful Charles E. Hughes had received one additional vote in each of California’s precincts, he would have defeated President Woodrow Wilson’s re-election bid.

12. On November 8, 1923, members of the then recently-formed revolutionary political party met to elect a leader in a Munich, Germany beer hall. By a majority of one vote, they chose an ex-soldier named Adolph Hitler to become the NAZI Party leader. We all know what happened after.

13. In 1941, the Selective Service Act (the draft) was saved by a one vote margin — just weeks before Pearl Harbor was attacked.

14. In 1948, a Texas convention voted for Lyndon B. Johnson over ex-Governor Coke Stevens in a contested Senatorial election. Lyndon Johnson because U.S. Senator by a one vote margin.

15. In 1948, if Thomas E. Dewey had gotten one vote more per precinct in Ohio and California, the presidential election would have been thrown into the U.S. House of Representatives where Dewey enjoyed more support than his rival — incumbent Harry Truman. As it was, Dewey was expected to win the general election by a landslide so most Republicans stayed home. Only 51.5% of the electorate voted. Truman defeated Dewey.

16. In the 1960 presidential election, an additional one vote per precinct in Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, and Texas may have altered the course of America’s modern history by denying John F. Kennedy the presidency and placing Richard Nixon in the White House eight years earlier.

17. In 2000 – The Presidential election was decided by an extremely narrow margin. George W. Bush won the state of Florida by just 537 votes, making him the 43rd President of the United States. Close to 6 million voters went to the polls in Florida. It might not have been by one vote, but certainly every vote counted.

18. In 2008 – Minnesota voters cast 2.9 million votes in their US Senate race that eventually was decided by 312 votes (1/1000th of one %)

19. South Africa lost the bid to host 2006 world cup to Germany by one vote.




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