‘Every votes counts’ is not a meaningless slogan

There is a seeming paradox when it comes to voting. Sometimes people decide not to vote for whatever reason, perhaps even laziness, rationalizing their decision by arguing that a single vote will not sway an election. And that is of course true in the sense that almost all major elections are decided by more than one vote and hence no one’s particular vote will be the decider. The reason to vote is because if enough people on one side of an issue or candidate thought and acted that same way, the other side would win. So even if the eventual margin of victory is more than one vote, each person’s vote matters and hence the frequent exhortation ‘every vote counts’.

But in the case of the Virginia elections in November that saw the Democratic party make huge gains, there is a case where ‘every vote counts’ is literally true, as Aida Chavez writes.

DOES EVERY VOTE count? Ask Democrat Shelly Simonds, who won a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates by a single vote in unofficial results on Tuesday, an upset that would end the GOP’s 17-year majority if it stands. Simonds emerged from a daylong recount as the winner, seizing the seat in Virginia’s 94th House District from Republican incumbent David Yancey by just one vote: 11,608 to 11,607.

A panel of three judges, appointed by the Virginia Supreme Court, will certify the results Wednesday, but Democrats have already claimed victory, with Simonds’s seat leading to a 50-50 tie in the chamber. Before last month, Republicans controlled 66 out of 100 seats. Now, with an evenly split House, any legislation without 51 votes would not advance.

Yancey had a 10-vote lead before the recount and is challenging one last ballot, saying that it should be counted for him and the court is in recess deciding whether it should look at it.

In other election news, Roy Moore (remember him?) still has not conceded the Alabama senate race that was nowhere near this close. He is trying to raise funds to investigate alleged fraud through something he has set up called the Election Integrity Fund but this money will likely go into some slush fund to be used for other purposes. But there will be enough passionate Moore supporters who will give.


  1. Mobius says

    If this is the same ballot, according to Rachel Maddow last night a judge has determined that the ballot should be counted for the Republican candidate. In that case the election is a tie.

    We can definitely see the effects of gerrymandering in Virginia. 55% of the votes state wide went to Democrat candidates for the 100 seat House of Delegates, elected every two years, yet the Democrats got only 49% of the seats (and possibly the contested one).

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