We recently held municipal elections in five cities within Pasco County and in one race for the city of San Antonio Commission, we had five candidates for three vacant seats. Only one vote (or .15%) separated the third and fourth place candidates. The 3rd place candidate received 127 votes and the fourth place candidate received 126 votes. In accordance with Florida law, we conducted a machine and manual recount and the results were upheld. The election was certified and the winners will be sworn-in. Given how close that election was, it reminds me of what I continually reinforce to voters. It’s important to remember that “Every Vote Counts.”
As the Supervisor of Elections for Pasco County, I’m often asked to be a guest lecturer in our schools to speak to our future voters about the importance of voting. One area that I always cover is “Every Vote Counts.” I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had adults tell me that they don’t register to vote or register to vote but not show up at the polls because “their vote doesn’t matter!”
In the famous election of 2000 with President Bush and Vice President Gore, we recall the image of that Judge in Palm Beach County looking through the magnifying glass for “pregnant chads and dimpled chads,” et cetera. To think that only 537 votes decided the leader of the free world. While many focus on the 537 vote difference, an often overlooked statistic is the number of “undervotes” or persons who chose not to vote in that particular contest. In just Pasco County alone, 1,776 persons undervoted in the presidential contest. 1n 1960, if just one person in each polling place throughout the United States had changed their mind and voted for Richard Nixon over John F. Kennedy, Nixon would have become President. In Pasco County for a city election in Port Richey many years ago, there was a statistical tie and the winner was decided by drawing straws.
These are just a few examples of why it’s so important to have your voice heard at the ballot box. By voting, you tell our leaders what you want them to do. By not voting, you give up that right! As we approach very important elections in the August Primary and November General Election, please use the “RPM” model by “Registering to Vote,” Prepare,” and “Make a Difference” and know that your vote can make a difference.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if my staff and I can be of any assistance. Also, follow me on twitter: @brianecorley