By Robin Barker
When I go out and about in the community, I try very hard to steer away from partisan politics, because it’s just too contentious, especially now. However, I am not above inquiring as to whether people have or are planning to vote. Some have already mailed in their early ballots, and some say they will vote if they have time, while others simply say, “No, I’m not going to vote.” When I ask why, they tell me they never vote in the mid-terms or that their vote won’t make any difference, so they don’t care.
It’s important to note that all 435 seats in Congress and 33 of 100 seats in the Senate will be on the ballot this year. There are also 36 governors,’ as well as a myriad of State Representatives’ and Senators’ races. So, one could postulate that mid-term elections are actually as, if not more important than the presidential elections and have been since the colonists fought their way out from under the dictates of King George!
As to a single vote or a small handful of votes counting for anything, ask the former Mayor of Pleasant, Md., Eugene F. Kennedy. He won his seat in 2000 by only one vote; or how about Al Gore, who lost the presidency by only 537 popular votes in the same year.
Then there’s Bryce Edgmon, who won a seat in the Alaska House of Representatives only after a recount, a State Supreme Court challenge and an argument over five disputed votes in 2006. Two years later, 2008, incumbent Representative Mike Kelly (Alaska House) won re-election by just four votes. In case you’re thinking these elections took place in the boonies, think again. There were more than 11,000 votes cast.
In 2012 and 2013 respectively, Missouri Representative Stacey Newman won her primary by one vote and, in a do-over, won by 95 votes. In New York’s 12th legislative district, Richard Kline won by only one vote.
And in case you haven’t had enough, there’s the strange 2015 case of Blaine Eaton, who won re-election to the Mississippi House of Representatives by drawing straws after a tie with his opponent Mark Tullos. Tullos asked for a review, resulting in the State House (same party as Tullos) throwing out some ballots for Eaton and Tullos was seated on a party-line vote.
Finally, right here at home, there was the defeat of Apache Junction Mayor Tom Domiano by Jean Perkins by less than ten votes in the early 90s and the recent Justice of the Peace win by former Mayor/Representative Doug Coleman by fewer than 20 votes.
By now, you must have realized that I am a firm believer that voting is the responsibility of every citizen and that I also firmly believe that my vote counts and your vote counts. I mean, after all, if you don’t vote, how can you complain when your elected officials, from the city all the way to Washington, D.C., don’t act on your behalf or do what you think they should or promised to do? By not voting, you are letting someone else decide the policies that will impact you and your family for the next two to six years.
You work during voting hours? Arizona law requires employers to provide employees time off with pay to vote. To be eligible for paid voting leave, the employee must make a request prior to the day of the election. The employer may specify the hours an employee can leave to vote.
Don’t know where to vote? Go to vote.org and plug in your address. Don’t have a ride? Call me!
Do yourself a favor. Take the time to let your voice be heard and VOTE on November 6. You will even get a cute little sticker for your effort.