Does your one vote have any power?

I don’t know if you remember what happened in one Virginia state legislative race last year.

I’ll never forget it because it came down to a single vote. One vote, from one person. That one person marked his ballot so weirdly, it was up to a bunch of vote counters to determine whether the ballot should be tossed or counted — that is, whether the counters should interpret what that ballot was trying to say.

The ballot should not have been counted and Shelly Simonds, the Democrat, should have won that election by a single vote. But the ballot was counted, so the election was tied. And the winner was henceforth determined by…pulling a piece of paper out of a jar.

Simonds lost. So to speak.

She ran again and last week won decisively.

I want to believe every Virginian in that district remembered that ballot and said, “OMG! This year I have to get to the polls and vote because my vote could determine this election.”

So: one person, one vote. Because your one, single, lonely vote could determine the fate of democracy. I’m exaggerating, but only very slightly.


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