Squeaker in Hanson proves every vote does count


You’ve heard  this before, but we will repeat it because it is so important: Every vote counts.

Not convinced?

Look at Hanson, where, in a town of 6,623 registered voters, Teresa Santalucia defeated incumbent Thomas Powers for a seat on the Housing Authority by a single vote — 210-209.

Any one of those 6,000 other voters who stayed home May 16 could have made a difference in the race, but they refused to exercise their right to choose their own government.

This is election season in many towns in the region and the turnout — just 7 percent in Hanson — is typical of many elections, except when there is a major issue on the ballot.

But we consider housing issues important to Hanson, and to other cities and towns, and it’s a shame that more voters didn’t have enough interest to participate in this election.

Such close votes don’t just happen in small communities.

The U.S. Senate race in Minnesota is still undecided — more than six months after ballots were cast — because the margin is so thin and the lead has seesawed back and forth between candidates Al Franken and incumbent Norm Coleman.

Other Senate races have been decided by fewer than 100 votes.

Nationally, several presidential elections have come down to a few hundred votes in a single state. Just nine years ago, George W. Bush, by defeating Al Gore by 537 votes in Florida (out of nearly six million votes cast), became president. The margin of victory was 0.009 percent.

There have been other local elections decided by one vote and we have chided voters before about the difference they could have made.

The one-vote margin in Hanson won’t be the last election to be so close, but it must be galling to the losing candidate, especially, when so many voters stay home.

Surely, some of those thousands of voters who couldn’t be bothered to cast a ballot in Hanson last weekend would have voted for Powers, who said he would ask for a recount.

A recount may change the election results, but nothing can change the fact that too many people are giving up their right — and responsibility — to choose the government that best represents them.

patriotledger.com

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