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The Importance of One Vote…A Closer Look

Commentary provided by:Josey Wales.

With election day right around the corner, I am still torn between what decision to make. Vote Third Party or stay home? Well, I think I have made it clear what my personal choice will be. I have not swayed at all. Still going to write-in Congressman Ron Paul as well as file the affidavit with Write In Revolution! and I HIGHLY recommend everyone who is writing in OR voting Third Party do the same.

But back to the initial concern that got me to put together this document. I am hearing a lot of people choosing to just opt out completely. They know their vote is meaningless, so their only recourse to further playing their game is to just stay home. I completely understand, but disagree.  I think we all have to show our force at the polls, and show our disdain by voting, but NOT for the establishment.

Anyway, I have run across the following piece on Facebook lately, and wanted to share it with you. I had to do quite a bit of digging to find out  WHO was originally responsible for this piece, but I think I’ve found it. But once I found it, I started researching the validity of the points used to demonstrate the The Importance of One Vote. It turns out, some of these points used are false, if you believe Snopes.com to be reliable. At any rate, I have linked to sources for each of the bullet points used in the article, and as always provided the link to the original article. While some of the examples might not be true, I still found this to be interesting, and I hope you do as well.

THE IMPORTANCE OF ONE VOTE
By Mary W. Morgan, Supervisor of Elections, Collier County, Florida

The most often heard excuse for not voting in an election is “my one little vote won’t make a difference.” Yet history is full of instances proving the enormous power of one single vote. In many cases, the course of nations has been changed because one individual ballot was cast, or not cast, depending upon your point of view. Consider this:

  • In 1645, one vote gave Oliver Cromwell control of England.
    According to snopes.com, this claim is FALSE.
  • In 1649, one vote literally cost King Charles I of England his head. The vote to behead him was 67 against and 68 for—the ax fell thanks to one vote.
    According to snopes.com, this claim is FALSE.
  • In 1714, one vote placed King George I on the throne of England and restored the monarchy.
    I’m not so sure this is accurate either, at least in the case of one vote. I found this site that describes how George I ascended to the throne. It was through  The Act of Settlement, which does not look to me like a vote.
  • In 1776, one vote gave America the English language instead of German (at least according to folk lore.)
    According to snopes.com, this claim is FALSE.
  • In 1800, the Electoral College met in the respective states to cast their two votes for President. At that time, the U.S. Constitution provided the candidate receiving the most electoral votes would become President and the candidate receiving the second highest number of votes would become Vice President. When the results of the Electoral College votes were opened by both houses of Congress, there was a tie vote for President between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. That threw the election of President into the House of Representatives where Thomas Jefferson was elected our third president by a one-vote margin.
    Ok, again, I am not convinced that this was decided by one vote. It is clear that one man, Alexander Hamilton was highly influential in the eventual tie-breaker, but I have not found that his, or anyone’s one vote did it.
    A couple of interesting articles :
    Election of 1800 Was Significant and Controversial
    1800 Presidential Election
  • In 1824, none of the four Presidential candidates received an electoral majority. The election was again thrown into the House of Representatives, where John Quincy Adams defeated front runner Andrew Jackson by one vote to become the nation’s 6th president. Andrew Jackson received the majority of the nation’s popular vote.
    Here, it seems it did come down to one vote. It seems, Andrew Jackson had the most votes in the Electoral College, but not a necessary majority. So once again it came down to House of Representatives vote.  Henry Clay was not only a Presidential Candidate in this race, but was also Speaker of the House. Clay could not fathom the thought of a Jackson Presidency, so he cast his support behind John Quincy Adams. In return Adams named Clay as his secretary of state, a position that had been the stepping-stone to the presidency for the previous four executives. Can you say “corruption”?
    The 1824 Election and the “Corrupt Bargain”
    1824 Presidential Election
  • In 1844 in the backwoods area of Switzerland County, Indiana on election day, a farmer named Freeman Clark lay seriously ill in bed. He begged his sons to carry him to the county seat so he could vote for David Kelso to become a state senator. David Kelso had defended old Freeman Clark on a murder charge and obtained his acquittal. The old farmer Freeman Clark got to vote for Kelso but Clark died on his way back home. Kelso won the election by one vote. Both Freeman Clark and David Kelso were long-time Andrew Jackson supporters.
    I can’t find ANYTHING to substantiate this claim. Sure makes for a nice story though.You can choose to use this site In Indiana One Vote Counts  as a credible source if you want.
  • In 1844 when the new Indiana senate convened, Democrats had a majority of one, counting David Kelso. At that time, state senates had the task of electing the states’ United States Senator. The Indiana Senate Democrats held a caucus where it developed a majority of the party delegation favored a man who would vote against the annexation of Texas if elected to the U.S. Senate. David Kelso refused to vote for the Democratic Party choice, and a deadlock resulted between the Democratic and Whig candidates. This continued for days. Finally, Kelso made his move. He proposed a new candidate: Edward A. Hannigan. In his party caucus, Kelso notified his Democratic associates he would bolt and vote with the Whigs—thus electing a Whig to the Senate—unless the Democrats supported Hannigan. The Democrats felt constrained to accept Hannigan who was then elected as Indiana’s U.S. Senator by one vote—that of David Kelso.
    Same as above. In Indiana One Vote Counts. But, this claim directly relates to the next claim which according to snopes.com, is FALSE.
  • In 1845, Texas was admitted to the union as a state by one vote—that of Edward A. Hannigan from Indiana. The 1844 and 1845 excerpts on the series of single votes leading to Texas statehood are from the book Magnificent Destiny.
    According to snopes.com, this claim is FALSE.
  • In 1846, a one-vote margin in the U.S. Senate approved President Polk’s request for a Declaration of War against Mexico.
    Not according to what I have found. All I can find that is Senate specific is other blogs and opinions restating the claim. However, the legitimate sources I have discovered ALL say that Congress overwhelmingly voted in favor and indeed Declared War against Mexico. So was there a one vote difference in the Senate? Maybe. But did that one vote make a significant difference? Not that I can see.
    Mexican-American War
    Mexican War
    A Guide to the Mexican War
  • In 1850, California was admitted to the union by a margin of one vote.
    Not finding anything proving this to be fact. I have found lots of information surrounding the controversy in admitting California, which had to do with the slavery issue at the time. This seems to be another instance where one man, Henry Clay, introduced a Bill that was instrumental in the outcome of the vote, but nothing to suggest that it was one vote.
    California Admission Day
    Compromise of 1850
    The Compromise of 1850 and the Fugitive Slave Act
  • In 1859, Oregon was admitted to the union by a margin of one vote.
    Looks like another instance of controversy surrounding slavery, but I can’t find anything regarding one vote.
    Slavery Clouds Oregon’s Admission to the Union.
  • The Alaska Purchase of 1867 was ratified by just one vote—paving the way for the eventual annexation of America’s largest state in 1958.
    Still having difficulties finding credible sources to back these claims. On this site, Seward`s Folly, the Purchase of Alaska it is claimed the Senate ratified it by one vote, but that is not backed up by a source for that actual vote. I found another site that appears to be an official government memo, where it states that the Senate did ratify the Purchase of Alaska, but mentions NOTHING about one vote. You’d think that would be a big deal, and people would highlight that fact.
    Purchase of Alaska
  • In 1868, one vote in the U.S. Senate saved President Andrew Johnson from impeachment.
    FINALLY! Something that looks to be somewhat true. It’s not so much that one vote was the outcome one way or another. They were just one vote short of the necessary votes to have the two-thirds needed to impeach. Well, maybe we are getting closer to getting one of these claims to be true.
    The Senate Votes on a Presidential Impeachment
  • In 1875, a one-vote margin changed France from a monarchy to a republic.
    According to snopes.com, this claim is FALSE.
  • In 1875, Florida’s U.S. Senators were still elected by the state Legislature. Democrat Charles W. Jones of Pensacola was elected by the U.S. Senate by a majority of one vote.
    Well, I only found one thing on this guy and it is a Wikipediaarticle. And it doesn’t say anything about him winning this Senate Seat by one vote.
  • In 1876, no presidential contender received a majority of electoral votes so the determination of the country’s president was again thrown into the U.S. House of Representatives. By a one-vote margin, Rutherford B. Hayes became the new U.S. president. When Tilden’s party protested the tabulation and demanded a recount, Congress established a 15-member electoral commission to again count the electoral votes and declare the result. By an eight to seven margin—again, one vote—the commission affirmed the count and gave the election and presidency to Hayes.
    Again, there seems to be a misleading of facts here. From The Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives :
    Democrat Samuel Tilden had emerged from the close election leading Republican Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio, just one vote shy of the 185 needed to win.
  • In 1885, two members of the Florida House of Representatives waged a friendly but close contest for Speaker of the House. Robert W. Davis of Green Cove Springs defeated Gen. Ernest Yonge of Pensacola by one vote.
    I cannot find one single piece of evidence to support this claim from a google search. Could it be true? Sure. But it sure seems like a one vote victory would have been big news, and it wouldn’t be too difficult to find a newspaper clipping.
  • In 1889, by a one-vote margin, Washington was admitted to statehood with the union.
  • In 1890, by a one-vote margin, Idaho became a state.
    Not even going to waste any more time looking up claims like the last two.
  • In 1916, if presidential hopeful Charles E. Hughes had received one additional vote in each of California’s precincts, he would have defeated President Woodrow Wilson’s re-election bid.
    From Wikipedia : The electoral vote was one of the closest in American history – with 266 votes needed to win, Wilson took 30 states for 277 electoral votes, while Hughes won 18 states and 254 electoral votes.
    1916 Presidential Election:

    Woodrow Wilson (I) Democratic 277 9,129,606
     Charles E. Hughes Republican 254 8,538,221

    I’m no mathematician,  but it looks like more than one vote.

  • On November 8, 1923, members of the then recently-formed revolutionary political party met to elect a leader in a Munich, Germany beer hall. By a majority of one vote, they chose an ex-soldier named Adolph Hitler to become the NAZI Party leader.
    According to snopes.com, this claim is FALSE.
  • In 1940, the vote taken by the French parliament to maintain its status as a republic failed by a margin of one vote.
    I once again googled this. I found this site, Poet Patriot.com, which makes this claim: “I believe my ‘one vote’ lists, National, by State, and Other to be the most comprehensive listing on the internet.
    So I scrolled down to 1940, and indeed saw this claim about the french Parliament vote with a link:
    1 vote failed a proposal by the French parliament to maintain its status as a republic.
    404: Page not found
    This error is generated when there was no web page with the name you specified at the web site.
  • In 1941, the Selective Service Act (the draft) was saved by a one-vote margin—just weeks before Pearl Harbor was attacked.
    According to snopes.com, this claim is FALSE.
  • In 1948, a Texas convention voted for Lyndon B. Johnson over ex-Governor Coke Stevens in a contested Senatorial election. Lyndon Johnson because U.S. Senator by a one-vote margin.
    Lyndon Johnson’s 1948 Senate Race states that Johnson won by 87 votes.  This article Lyndon Johnson’s victory in the 1948 Texas Senate race: a reappraisal. seems to back that up.
  • In 1948, if Thomas E. Dewey had gotten one vote more per precinct in Ohio and California, the presidential election would have been thrown into the U.S. House of Representatives where Dewey enjoyed more support than his rival—incumbent Harry Truman. As it was, Dewey was expected to win the general election by a landslide, so most Republicans stayed home. Only 51.5 percent of the electorate voted. Truman defeated Dewey.
    Ok, this was a crazy election. Newspapers were prematurely reporting that Dewey defeated Truman. A large percentage of voters did stay home. I think I will just post some links here, and you all can do some further digging if you want to confirm or debunk the one vote thing.
    1948 Presidential General Election Results
    1948 Presidential Election
    Results of the 1948 Election
  • In a 1955 city election in Huron, Ohio, the mayor was elected to office by one vote.
    This is actually becoming comical. All I can find is more blogs and opinion pieces repeating the this original list as proof of the accuracy of the one vote claim.  Again, I have to say, all these important instances coming down to just one vote, seems like it would be newsworthy. I wouldn’t think it would be so difficult to find sources to back the claims.
  • In a 1959 city election, mayors of both Rose Creek and Odin, Minnesota were elected to their respective offices by one vote.
    Not even going to bother looking.
  • In the 1960 presidential election, an additional one vote per precinct in Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, and Texas may have altered the course of America’s modern history by denying John F. Kennedy the presidency and placing Richard Nixon in the White House eight years earlier.
    There is no doubt, this was won of the most controversial, and closest elections in U.S. Presidential history. But I am having a difficult time believing that one vote in each of these States would have changed it all. There are far too many other factors involved, such as accusations of election fraud. So, I have provided some links to the individual State results of the election, and for those of you who have the patience and aptitude, who want to try to figure it out, please do. I look forward to seeing your pie charts and line graphs.
    Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, Texas
    Wikipedia U.S. Presidential Election 1960
    Was Nixon Robbed?
    Chicago Ties Cast Shadow on 1960 Presidential Win
    Did JFK Steal the 1960 Election?
  • In 1962, the governors of Maine, Rhode Island, and North Dakota were all elected by a margin of one vote per precinct.
  • In 1984, a Monroe County, Florida commissioner was elected by one vote.
  • In 1994, the U.S. House of Representatives enacted a law banning specific classes of assault weapons. The vote was initially tied but one member changed his vote to approve the ban.
    From Wikipedia, In 1994, Swett voted for a bill to ban assault weapons that narrowly passed by two votes in the United States House of Representatives.
  • Bills proposing amendment to the U.S. Constitution require a two-thirds vote of each House in order to be approved. When the balanced budget amendment bill came before the U.S. Senate in March, 1995, the measure failed by one vote—Mark Hatfield, Republican from Oregon, was the sole Republican failing to vote with other members of the Republican Party, which was the majority party of the U.S. Senators. When it became apparent the measure would fail, Senate Republican Whip, Bob Dole, changed his vote to enable him to bring the matter back up under parliamentary rules for a vote in the future.
    Considering a Balanced Budget Amendment: Lessons from HistoryRick Santorum says he called for resignation of a high-ranking Republican over no vote on balanced budget amendment

I realize I am not a historian or a professional researcher, but these claims, should be much easier to substantiate. I started this document with the hopes of demonstrating that our one vote can make a difference. But after trying to verify these claims that would have you believe that to be true, I’m not so sure. I think I have proven though, no matter how good information looks, and no matter how in line it is with our preconceived notions, we should never take it at face value. Research the claims made by others. Perhaps Mary W. Morgan, while producing her document did research all of these points. And perhaps, there are verifiable original sources to back these claims. I could not find such sources, and I would have liked very much if Miss Morgan would have provided these sources. But again, I am speculating. Who’s to say in her original, the sources weren’t provided? But in the original article (I doubt this was the first reproduction) I could find that reproduced Miss Morgan’s findings, and ALL subsequent re-postings of her work, no such sources are listed.


http://www.spiritlifemag.com/?p=2482

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