Tuesday, May 13, 2014

My Vote Counts!

I try to participate in most elections, and will take some time to research the candidates beforehand. (Even the judges!) I know it's important for everyone to do their "civic duty", and that's why I do it. But sometimes, I can't help but think: "I know my vote isn't going to make that much of a difference. The same person is going to win whether I vote or not. Not only that, there's no way for me to confirm afterwards whether or not my vote was actually counted." When your vote is but one of thousands or millions, it's easy to get discouraged. Surely I'm not the only voter who's thought that.

So...last week, I filled out a Republican primary ballot*, which listed, among other things, 8 candidates for the US Senate seat currently held by Kay Hagan (D). Whoever wins the primary will challenge Hagan in November.

The candidate I voted for, Alex Lee Bradshaw, finished in 7th place with 0.7% of the vote. (By the way, I'm not going to get into why I voted for Bradshaw over the other candidates, or even why I chose to vote in the Republican primary*, because I don't want this to turn into Heated And Divisive Political Debate.) The results weren't surprising, of course, but voting for one of the least popular candidates does have its perks. Let's have a look at the (un)official election results from Durham County (source):

Turns out, I was the only person who voted for Bradshaw in my precinct. So, that "1" you see there in the (un)official results? That's me! I think that's pretty awesome.

Of course, that doesn't necessarily confirm my vote was, in fact, counted. What if there were actually two votes cast for Bradshaw in my precinct? There's no way to know for sure. But if that was a 0 instead of a 1, that would be a bit troubling. (It's not that I don't trust our elections officials; it's just that humans make mistakes. Why else would they have recounts?)

(* - I'm an unaffiliated voter, which means that according to North Carolina law, I can vote in whichever party's primary I choose. I take a Democratic primary ballot more often than I take a Republican primary ballot, but it depends on which races I find the most interesting.)


Spartangoogle said...

I always vote, too. I believe my vote counts as much as anyone’s. A more philosophical question I ask myself more and more lately, "Does it really matter who's in office?" The degree of weaselness among politicians seems to be growing at an exponential rate.

Spartangoogle said...

I'm the only one from NB who does the USA Today online polls so 100% of the people in the "city" statistics agree with me!