Volume 18: Voting in the 2004 Elections
The Power of One
One of every 100,000 votes cast in U.S. federal elections, and one of every 15,000 votes cast in state elections, helps to decide a race in which the candidate voted for officially tied or won by one vote. You just never know when yours will be that one vote.
Here are some examples from history of how one vote made a difference:
- In 1776, one vote made English the official language of this country rather than German.
- Women won the right to vote in 1920 by passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Tennessee, the last state who needed to pass the amendment, ratified the amendment by one vote.
- One vote elected Rutherford B. Hayes to the presidency in 1876, and the man in the Electoral College who cast that vote was an Indiana Congressman elected to his seat by one vote.
- In 1923, one vote made Adolph Hitler head of the Nazi party in Germany.
- John F. Kennedy won the presidency in 1960 by just one vote per precinct in Illinois. If one more voter in each precinct had voted for Richard Nixon, he would have received the electoral votes from Illinois and consequently become president instead of Kennedy.
Excerpted with permission from "Your Vote Makes A Difference." © 2000 League of Women Voters of Massachusetts.
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