I am embarrassed by the voters of Liberty County. A few weeks ago, we had a primary election in Georgia. The turnout was abominable. Fewer than 900 Liberty County Democrats came out in support of President Barack Obama. Was that because the Democrats think that he is a sure thing? Maybe it’s because he’s losing his voter base and could lose the general election in November. The point is, if Liberty County Democrats support him, they didn’t show it.
The Republican voters weren’t much better. Only a few more than 1,600 headed to the polls to select the candidate that hopefully will beat the president in November. Newt Gingrich took the state, which is fine with me, but if you supported another candidate and didn’t vote, you are responsible for that candidate not getting the electoral votes needed to lead the party.
One of the greatest privileges granted to us by the Constitution is the right to vote. We, as Americans, select the person who the majority wants to lead this country for four years. We are the freest country in the world because of this. We don’t have to worry about a military coup or any one person getting too powerful for too long. We the people control our leaders by using the vote. We all contribute to society, either in a positive way or a negative way. When we vote, we give a voice to positive change in the country. If we don’t vote, we deserve the government we get.
Our elected officials make important decisions about how our government will spend our tax dollars and the restraints it will place on individual behavior. It could be a life-and-death decision, such as sending soldiers into battle. Elected officials respond to people who vote rather than to those who don’t vote. Your candidate might not be a winner if you do vote, but you can be sure that the candidate will lose if you don’t.
According to www.votinginfo.info, in 1839, Marcus Morton won the Massachusetts governorship by only two votes. Grover Cleveland edged out James G. Blaine in 1884 to win New York’s decisive 36 electoral votes by just 1,149 votes. In 1960, according to www.britannica.com, John F. Kennedy was elected president by 112,827 votes, or 0.2 percent of the popular vote. That gave Kennedy a victory of 303-219 in the Electoral College, which was the closest race since 1916 at that point. History was changed when Lyndon B. Johnson won the Texas Senatorial Democratic primary runoff in 1948 by 87 votes, according to nytimes.com.
The election for governor of Washington was won Nov. 2, 2004, by Christine Gregoire by just 133 votes, according to www.sos.wa.gov. Again, according to votinginfo.info, the presidential election was won in Florida in 2000 when George W. Bush beat Al Gore by only 537 votes. Since Florida’s electoral votes decided Bush’s Electoral College win over Gore, little attention was paid to the fact that Gore’s victory in New Mexico was even closer than the Florida result at 366 votes, per abcnews.go.com. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum defeated former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the Iowa Republican caucuses, the closest GOP primary election in United States history, according to www.huffingtonpost.com.
There have been 12 presidential elections that were decided by less than a 1 percent margin, according to www.mit.edu. If just 1 percent more people voted in certain states, the outcome of the entire election would have been different. Now can you see how important your vote is?
Calderone is a conservative who lives in Midway. He is a professional salesperson and has written articles for trade publications in various fields for 30 years.