Stop us if you’ve heard this before.
“Get out the vote.”
“Every vote matters.”
“Rock the vote.”
Okay, you get the point. Slick slogans encouraging voter participation are as old as politicking itself. The ancient Roman city of Pompeii, famously preserved by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, featured thousands of election posters asking for votes.
One reads, “Neighbors beg you to elect Lucius Statius Receptus duumvir with judicial power, a worthy man. Aemilius Celer wrote this, a neighbor. You jealous one who destroys this, may you fall ill.”
Not much has changed, has it?
What was true in the first century AD remains just as relevant in the 21st — every vote counts.
Look no further than our local primaries on Sept. 12. The results of a number of races were still in doubt this week, until the absentee ballots were tallied up.
In Cohocton, a single vote was all that separated Richard Schumacher from Thomas Roy Middleton in the Republican primary for Town of Cohocton highway superintendent. One vote. Imagine the litigation if that happened in a presidential race.
Remarkably, not one, but two local races were decided by a single vote. The Democratic primary for town justice in Hartsville went to Katherine Burdick over Stuart Perks by a single tally.
In Andover, the importance of every vote was only slightly less pronounced. James Ames edged Steven Heckman in the race for town justice by just four votes.
In Hartsville, the margin was the same in two different races. John Bowles won the Republican primary for supervisor by four votes over Duane Howe, while Vivian Woodworth edged Kay F. Miles for clerk by four votes.
In District 3 of the Allegany County legislature, five votes separated Bill Dibble and Scott Burt from appearing on the Republican ticket in November. Dibble will be joined on the Republican line by Debra Root and Dwight Fanton, who didn’t have to sweat out the absentee ballot count.
Burt will still be on the ballot in the general election after receiving an endorsement from the Reform Party. Several other candidates who suffered narrow primary defeats will have a second chance in November. For others, their political dreams are on hold.
While the District 3 candidates may differ on some of the issues, they were united in expressing surprise at the low voter turnout when surveyed by The Daily Reporter. One candidate, John Ramsey, said he spoke with some citizens who weren’t aware the primary was happening.
If they missed all the political signs dotting the roads — which admittedly don’t say when to vote for Candidate X — maybe they were also fooled by the weather. To be sure, Tuesday, Sept. 12 was a beautiful late summer day in Western New York. Perhaps too warm to be taken for election season.
It would be understandable if a certain portion of the electorate chose to stay home and get some chores done in lieu of going to the polls. Who could’ve anticipated this recent stretch of gorgeous September weather after the chilly, wet summer months?
Just don’t say you stayed home because your vote doesn’t matter. The tight primary season in Steuben and Allegany counties demonstrated how one vote can shift who is representing your interests for the next few years.
The general election is approaching on Nov. 7.
You have a vote.
If we may be so bold as to suggest still another slogan —
Make it count.
(The Sunday Spectator will accept letters in support of candidates until Friday, Oct. 27.)