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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Your vote matters

Election Day – Tuesday, November 2 – is approaching quickly. In a state of more than five million people, some wonder if one vote really matters. It does. Hundreds of federal, state and local elections in the United States have been decided by less than a percentage point, including several races in the past decade.
  • The memorable 2008 Coleman/Franken Senate election was decided by a margin of only 312 votes.
  • In 2008, an election for the Alaska House of Representatives was decided by one vote following a recount.
  • An election for the Oklahoma House of Representatives was decided by only two votes in 2006.
  • A gubernatorial election in Washington State was decided by 133 votes in 2004.
  • A primary election for the Ohio Senate was decided by 22 votes in 2004.
  • A U.S. House of Representatives election in Colorado was decided by 121 votes in 2002.
  • George Bush narrowly won the Presidential election in 2000. He won in Florida by 537 votes and in New Mexico by 366 votes. The margin of victory was less than 5% in 12 states and between 5 and 10% in 10 states, making it the closest Presidential election since 1876.
  • Going further back in history, Minnesota’s closest statewide race was decided by only 91 votes. In Minnesota’s 1962 gubernatorial election Karl Rolvaag defeated Elmer Anderson by a margin of 0.01%.
Although the state gubernatorial race has been getting a lot of press over the past few months, there are also several important city and county referendums and races that might not have grabbed the attention of the media. Because fewer people vote in these elections, it is even more important that voters make informed decisions and vote. The Minnesota Secretary of State website has sample ballots listing who and what will be on your ballot.

On November 2, remember to go to the polls, because your vote really does matter.