Just My Opinion – The Importance of a Single Vote
Prior to every election, whether it be local, state or federal, the public is inundated with media advertisements encouraging us, even pleading with us, to exercise our right to vote. Unlike direct political ads, these specific messages do not tell us how to vote, only urge us to do so because voting is the bedrock of a democratic society and gives us a voice on how we are governed.
The counter to this, a reason or excuse voiced by many eligible voters, is that their vote, their one and only vote, is insignificant and will not make a difference in the grand scheme of things. Without going into a long listing of why this does not hold up, let’s take a look at the May 2021 election ballot for Fulton Township voters.
On that one-issue-only ballot was a 1-mil fire levy that, if passed, would have allowed the double taxing for fire service for Swanton residents also living within the Village limits to be eliminated. This “double taxation” issue has been a point of contention for decades between the Village and the townships that share jurisdiction with Swanton.
When the votes were counted at the end of election night, the levy was losing 74-72. When the count was deemed “official” it was tied at 74 votes apiece. A recount was taken with the same 74-74 result which meant the levy failed to pass and the double taxation would continue.
The result of this election, pass or fail, pales in comparison to the weight a single vote could have had if only it had been cast. If just one more Swanton/Fulton Township voter had taken a few minutes to stop in their voting precinct and cast a vote, their tax bill for fire protection for the next five years may have been smaller. Truthfully, we will never be sure. But it makes you think “what if”, as it should, for future elections.
For example, in November, there will be four seats on the Swanton Village Council up for election. The actions and decisions of the Council, as it is now seated, have received a great deal of negative backlash and publicity. Many residents are unhappy and want to see a change. The first step is to find acceptable candidates willing to run for those seats and step two is for the voters to get to the polls.
In village elections, the number of registered voters is small but the impact of a single vote can be large. In Fulton Township this past May it made all the difference. The next election is still about five months away. But let me be the first to say it. Please Vote.