Editorial: Every single vote is important – now more than ever

Published: 11/4/2018 12:05:05 AM

One vote matters. Your vote matters.

The closest U.S. Senate race in history was held right here in New Hampshire, in 1974. The first ballot count had Republican Louis Wyman defeating Democrat John Durkin by 355 votes. A recount put Durkin ahead by 10 votes out of 223,000 cast. A second recount gave the victory to Wyman by two votes. Then Gov. Meldrim Thomson appointed Wyman to the Senate. He served for three days before Durkin appealed the results to the final arbiter of Senate elections, the Senate itself. Wyman then called for a runoff special election. Durkin won by 28,000 votes.

Each vote still matters. Last month, the contest for a Franklin City Council seat was decided by a single vote. A 2016 primary election for the District 8 state Senate seat was decided by nine votes. As signs that can be seen around Concord proclaim, “Midterms Matter.” This year they matter more than ever.

Tuesday’s election will take place in a nation more divided than at any time since the turbulent 1960s, a nation where more than a few sane people fear a second civil war. Our hope is that citizens go to the polls out of hope, not fear. The echoes of danger reverberating across the land that originate in the White House are no more than the curtained crankings of a malign wizard of Oz.

On Tuesday, vote for a more civil, more unified, less-violent America. Our divisions are less than the common principles that unite us as a nation. Vote for truth over “alternative facts.” Vote for uniters, not dividers. Vote against racism, anti-Semitism, discrimination and hate. Vote if you worry about affordable health care for yourself, your children, your parents. Vote if you believe climate change is real and it poses a serious threat. Vote if you believe that the nation’s deficit, up 17 percent this year alone, matters. Vote if you believe that growing income inequality threatens the future of millions. Vote if you believe that the tax system is unfair.

Vote so you can have a say in the course of your community, state and country.

The nation was far more riven in 1864 when Abraham Lincoln, facing re-election, said: “Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”

It’s time to face the fires burning across the land and with a waterfall of votes, put them out.

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