Declare Yourself!

Here's a really cool website to encourage voter registration for the newest voters, age 18-24 or so. Often not sure of how, where or when to register, young people may just pass up the opportunity to vote, or blow it off as if it doesn't matter. It matters!

The site is completely information-oriented and non-partisan. With Dave Chappelle acting as as one of the spokespersons (the comedy equivalent of crack...one try and you're hooked!), I'm sure the site will attract a lot of 18+ year-olds.

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Actually...

...from the standpoint of the individual, it doesn't matter. You are statistically insignificant; it's only because of faulty evolutionary psychology that we hold the illusion that "my vote counts". For those who disagree, I heartily recommend the book Mean Genes by Terry Burnham and Jay Phelan (ISBN 0738202304); it's a quite enjoyable romp through the realm of evolutionary psychology as it applies to our lives.

One Vote

In 1645, one vote gave Oliver Cromwell control of England.
In 1649, one vote caused Charles 1 of England to be executed.

In 1776, prior to the onset of the American Revolution. The newly formed United States considered severing all ties with the mother country by changing our language from English to German. A proposal for this was presented to Congress, but the vote ended in a tie. The deadlock was finally broken when the son of a German immigrant cast his vote in favor of English.

In 1800, the presidential election between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr was tied in the Electoral College, 73 to 73. Therefore the election was tossed into the House of Representatives for decision; but after ballots were cast 36 times by the House, the vote was still tied. Then, one Federalist changed his vote. Others followed, and Jefferson was elected President on the 37th ballot.

In 1820, President James Monroe ran for a second term. He was so popular that he won all but one single vote in the Electoral College. Former senator William Plumer of New Hampshire cast his electoral vote for John Quincy Adams rather than James Monroe, to whom he was pledged. Accounts vary about Plumer's motivation; he is reported to have said he felt that only George Washington 'deserved a unanimous election' but biographers also report that he wanted to draw attention to his friend Adams as a potential president and to 'protest against the wasteful extravagance of the Monroe Administration'

In 1845, one vote brought Texas into the Union. Freed from Mexico in 1836 the Republic of Texas was immediately formed and recognized as a new nation by the United States. In 1845, the Republic of Texas requested annexation to the Union, however, many Americans felt that another southern state would bring trouble. When the Senate voted a deadlock occurred. Then one Senator changed his vote and by this one single vote Texas became the 28th State.

In 1846, the Mexican army invaded Texas and President James Polk asked for a Declaration of War. The Senate was not anxious for war and the declaration was passed by the margin of only one vote. That one vote for the Mexican War brought us not only victory, but the territory of five great states, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and California.

In 1868, impeachment proceedings were brought against President Andrew Johnson on the grounds that he had abused his executive powers. The Senate, which sits in judgment on such cases, found Johnson innocent by a margin of one single vote. This one vote not only saved our highest office from dishonor, but also prevented a miscarriage of justice because we now know that Johnson was a victim of politics.

In 1875, French Deputies met in convention to decide the future of France, Monarchy or Republic. During the voting, one of the deputies became violently ill and had to be taken home before he could vote. He wanted a Monarchy, but because he did not vote, France became a Republic by that one single vote.

In 1876, Samuel Tilden won the presidential election by more than a half million in the popular vote over Rutherford B. Hayes. However, some states had issued confused returns and the Electoral College found itself deadlocked. So a special commission was formed to make the final decision. The commission decided that Hayes, although losing the popular vote, had won the Electoral vote by just ballot - 185 to 184.

In 1941, one vote saved Selective Service weeks before Pearl Harbor.

Re:One Vote

I wish I could say that any of those examples are true, but most of them, at least, aren't. The mantra about one vote making a difference through history is debunked at Snopes.com; and it looks as if it covers every one of your samples.

However, it is important to exercise your right to vote, and here's why.

Many is the time I feel as if I should refrain from voting, but not because I think my vote can't make a difference. It's because one pack of elected parasites is indistinguishable from the other. The only thing that really ever changes is the names on the doors. Still, I get out and vote every chance I get because I see as a way of paying my dues so I can spend the next five years (up here in Canada) bitching about the dozy bastards with a clear conscience. There is nothing I hold in contempt more than a lazy, loud-mouthed, dumb-ass son-of-a-bitch who does nothing but piss and moan about the government but doesn't even bother to vote.

(November 02, neighbours; sharpen your pencils.)

Re:One Vote

Paragraph breaks please. Geez my head hurts after reading that.


One vote of course counts, it counts less when there are more voters, but if you are 1 of click for US population, or 1 of 250 in a small town council election your vote is still important.

That said I think most people under 25 do not vote so it is pointless for them to register if they have no intention of voting. It is fine with me if the ignorant and uninformed abstain, in fact it is preferable. Today's young voters are tomorrow's leaders. Today's non-voters are tomorrow's drunks and 53 year old fast food counter people. Get involved, educate yourself or pay the price for your ignorance.


Most importantly voting gives you the ability to say: "Don't blame me I voted for the other guy."

Re:Actually...

First of all, sorry Korpios, you are terribly misinformed in your reference to evolutionary psychology. Take it from a psychology student; evolutionary psychology refers to the evolved instict of humans and animals to behave in a manner that is socially and morally acceptable. For example, evolutionary psychology teaches us not to scream at the top of our lungs on a crowded NYC subway...NOT that our vote doesn't count.

Second of all, our forefathers founded this country on the theory that our elections would be just and constitutional if everyone upheld their RESPONSIBILITY to vote.

Third of all, I may be a statistically insignificant percentage of the American population but if you add all those tiny percentages together you get a number that adds up to close to HALF of our population. That half truly does matter, just ask our president, George W. Bush.

Korpios, you just got bitched by a sixteen year old.

Re:Actually...

Korpios, you just got bitched by a sixteen year old.

Yeah, and you were doing okay until you got to this part, and then you blew the whole tone of the message. Here's a clue, dude: when you're tearing a strip off someone's ass, don't gloat about it. It's much more effective that way.

Re:Actually...

I agree with Face on something.

Re:One Vote

Quickly glancing over your (atrociously formatted — please use breaks!) list, it appears that virtually all of your examples are taken from Parliaments, Senates, and other bodies of relatively small size. My point obviously doesn't apply to a vote in such a small body; it is obviously not statistically insignificant from that vantage.

Re:One Vote

It's silly to argue that one has no right to complain because they didn't engage in a meaningless activity. If one had significant weight in a decision, didn't exercise their power, and then complains... well, that's comtemptible.

Re:Actually...

Wow, talk about misreading the entire point of my post, and displaying a poor understanding of evolutionary psychology! Ev. psych. makes us believe that our vote does count, because we are programmed to believe that 1) our actions have weight on our social environment (even when they don't), and 2) our chances of a positive outcome are better than they are (hence gambling's eternal draw, for instance).

As for "all those tiny percentages", you (let's hope accidentally) missed the point that it's insignificant from the standpoint of the individual. It doesn't matter if you vote for Bush or Kerry, from your perspective; the same guy will win either way.

You might want to read the book I mentioned; one of the authors is a Ph.D in Biology from Harvard and a professor at UCLA. Maybe your 16 year-old mind can still learn a new thing or two.

(By the way, you're assuming that I believe that democracy is just; I don't. I'm a minarchist libertarian, and I'm very much against democracy.)

Re:One Vote

When faced with a choice of evils, voting also leads others to point their finger at you; "Hey, you did vote for that guy." Not that selecting the lesser of evils isn't appropriate in situations where your input is statistically significant, but it is something to ponder.

By the way, some of today's non-voters are doing quite well for themselves and their future, thank you.

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