Everyone: When it’s time to vote, GET OUT AND VOTE.

The list below (originally found on Facebook) focuses on Alaskan elections (Alaskans can be particularly prone to the “my vote doesn’t count so why bother” mentality, particularly in Presidential elections where Alaska has few electoral votes and the races are often called before polls have even closed in Alaska), but I’d be willing to bet good money that similar close results can be found in whatever region you live in (I’ll admit that I haven’t taken the time to personally research and verify each of these specific instances, but I have no immediate reason to doubt them).

Also, you’ll notice that most of this list has results not from high-profile Presidential elections, but from local elections, from as broad as gubernatorial to as local as school district races. Sure, that’s because those races often deal with smaller voting populations, but those are also the races that are often far more directly impactful to the people who are (and who should be) voting. They may not be as “sexy” and exciting as big-ticket races, but they’re just as important — and not infrequently, arguably more so.



1845: ONE vote brought Texas into the Union.

1868: ONE vote saved President Andrew Johnson from impeachment.

1876: ONE vote gave Rutherford Hayes the presidency of the United States

1939: ONE vote passed the Selective Service act.

1960: ONE vote per precinct elected John F. Kennedy President.


1978: Jay Hammond won the nomination for Governor over Walter Hickel in the primary election by just 98 votes statewide. That’s less than 1/4 vote per precinct!

1978: ONE vote elected Tim Kelly to his Senate seat in District F.

1982: TWO votes gave the nomination for State Senate in District J to David McCracken in the primary election.

1984: ONE vote gave Mary Ratcliff the nomination for State Representative, House District 12, in the primary election.

1986: 17 votes (less than one vote per precinct) elected Rick Uehling Senator from District H, Seat B, out of 14,389 votes cast.

1988: SIX votes elected David Finkelstein to State Representative, House District 12 in the primary election.

1990: TEN votes elect Terry Martin to State Representative, District 13, Seat B. Just ONE vote per precinct.

1990: Four contests in the general election were decided by a margin of less than ONE PERCENT of the votes cast in each contest.

1992: FIVE votes gave Al Vezey the nomination for State Representative, House District 32 in the primary election (less than ONE vote per precinct).

1994: 1.1 votes per precinct elected Tony Knowles as Governor and Fran Ulmer as Lieutenant Governor out of 216,668 votes cast.

1996: ONE vote gave Ann Spohnholz the nomination for State Representative, House District 21, in the primary election.

1998: A TIE was broken by a flip of the coin to elect Wayne Morgan after a runoff Election for a school board seat in the Kuspuk School District.

2003: 14 votes gave Mark Begich the 45% plurality threshold needed to elect him Mayor of Anchorage.

2006: A TIE was broken by a flip of the coin to give Bryce Edgmon the nomination for State Representative, House District 37, in the primary election.

2016: In the Anchorage municipal election, Proposition 9, Girdwood Police Protection, passed by THREE votes.

Linkdump for October 2nd through November 9th

Sometime between October 2nd and November 9th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

Occupy the Vote. Make a Difference. #occupythevote

Washington state is expecting a 47% turnout in this election — and people bitch and moan about how nothing ever changes.

I support the #occupy movement. But I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that if every one of the #occupy protesters actually voted, there are a lot of races that wouldn’t be as close as they end up being. If every #occupy protester told their friends to vote — and not just, “you should vote,” but “no, seriously, YOU SHOULD VOTE, we’re going to the polls/filling out our ballots now,” a lot of races wouldn’t even be close.

Yes, protests are important. Yes, we need to make our voices heard. But we also need to remember that shouting in the streets isn’t the only way to make our voices heard. Fill out your ballot. Put it in the mail. Put it in a drop box. If you don’t live somewhere where you can vote by mail, then take the hour out of your day to go to the polls.

But don’t ignore your right to vote, then bitch because nothing ever changes.

And don’t whine that “my vote doesn’t make a difference,” or “it’s just one vote.” Over the past couple decades, we’ve seen too many elections, national and local, where recounts were triggered because the final tally was so close. A few more votes — those tiny, insignificant, single votes — all of a sudden aren’t so minuscule.



Vote Obama '08 This is it — voting day!

Hopefully, you’re one of the many people who’ve taken advantage of the option to vote early in one form or another. If not, then please take the time out of your day today to go by your local polling place and cast your vote.

Don’t let the news scare you away, either. If the race follows the polls — and keep in mind, that’s still a big “if” — then the big networks could be calling the election long before many people on the West coast have a chance to vote. Don’t let that stop you! Anyone who remembers the last two presidential races (especially 2000) knows how eager the networks are to declare a winner, long before most votes are cast, and with plenty of time for things to change. Besides, there’s a lot more than just the presidential race at stake here, there are tons of Senate, House, and local seats and measures that you can have input on.

Know your voting rights! Hopefully this won’t be an issue for you, but better to be prepared. Don’t let goons from the other side (whichever side that may be) keep you from voting. If you do have problems, know what to do:

If you see something weird or discomfiting or arguably illegal going on at your polling place tomorrow. don’t post about it here. Or, at least, don’t post first.

You’ve got two choices tomorrow as to where to phone in your information, and I’m going to advocate doing both. First off, there’s Obama Voter Protection:

Call 1-877-US-4-OBAMA (1-877-874-6226) and let them know what problems you’re seeing. If you can’t get through, use this online form and/or call your local campaign HQ.

Alternately, or in addition, I strongly encourage you to call Election Protection, a nonpartisan organization:

We all love being able to break news here about what we’re seeing, but what matters most tomorrow is giving that information to people who can do something about it . And then … wait, what are you doing at a computer in the first place on Election Day? Get out there. Do More Than Vote.

Lawyers like me will be at polling places all over the country tomorrow to protect every citizen’s right to vote in an atmosphere free of intimidation, coercion and deception. But we can’t do anything if we don’t know what the problem is. So don’t post it here — call it in.

It’s time for a change, people. Make this one count.