When tempted to say, ‘My vote doesn’t matter’

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Does every vote count? Can one vote really make a difference? Can one vote make or break an election?

The chances of losing an election by one vote are slim, but it does happen. Just ask 2015 POA Board of Directors candidate Paul Queen, who lost the recent election to Ted Horton by just one single vote. Ted Horton received 518 votes, Paul received 517 votes.

“When you put so much time, money and effort into an election only to lose by one vote, it’s disappointing,” says Paul. He adds, “The final kicker was when I received two more proxy votes in the mail the day after the election. I would have won the election had the two proxies arrived on time.”

A proxy vote means that if one is eligible to cast a vote but chooses not to, the voting power can be delegated to another eligible voter to cast the vote.

Immediately following the announcement of the election results, Paul inquired about a recount. “It was too close to not consider requesting a recount,” says Paul. However, before making that decision Paul had to consider the cost of a recount. He learned a recount would cost Paul $200 per hour and could run anywhere from $1,000. to $5,000.

While Paul was pondering his option to call a recount, he received an e-mail from HOA Elections of California, Inc., the company responsible for counting the ballots. HOA Elections informed Paul that, due to the count being only one off, they did a recount when they arrived back at the office. Unfortunately, for Paul and his supporters, the numbers still came out the same.

“I appreciate HOA Elections recounting the ballots and I have no issues with the company. What is questionable, though, are the ballots that aren’t counted. For example, if a voter puts the ballot in the envelope backwards, without the information showing in the window, they aren’t counted. HOA Elections agreed to these terms before the election, so I understand why they didn’t count these ballots,. But I don’t agree with a ballot not being counted because someone placed it in the envelope backwards,” says Paul.

At this time, Paul says he doesn’t have plans to ask for another recount. However, some of Paul’s supporters feel differently and are considering pitching in their own money to cover the cost of recount.

Paul says, “If my supporters feel so strongly about another recount that they are willing to pay for it, then I would agree to it. I owe them that for all the support they’ve given me.”

Voting is a constitutional right, a civic duty and a privilege people have died fighting for and defending. Approximately 66 percent of the eligible voters in Canyon Lake did not exercise their right to vote in the 2015 POA Board of Directors election. Some of those people may have felt, as one individual, their vote didn’t actually have an impact on the big picture. The truth is, though, one individual does have the power to influence change.

In 1649, one vote caused Charles I of England to be executed.
In 1776, one vote gave America the English language instead of German. In 1845, one vote brought Texas and California into the Union. 
In 1868, a single vote saved President Andrew Johnson from an impeachment conviction. In 1875, one vote changed France from a monarchy to a republic.

In 1911, one vote per precinct passed woman suffrage in California.

In 1920, one vote from an obscure state legislator gave all women the right to vote after 100 years of struggle.

In 1923, one vote gave Adolph Hitler leadership of the Nazi Party.
In 1941, just months before Pearl Harbor, one vote defeated a bill that would have killed the draft law.

In 1960, John F. Kennedy’s margin of victory over Richard Nixon was less than one vote per precinct. 
Several states, including California, Idaho, Oregon, Texas and Washington, became states by just one vote.

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Donna Ritchie