One vote can mean all the difference

Published 10:55 am Tuesday, September 11, 2012

After the votes were counted in the Chelsea municipal election Aug. 28, Place 3 incumbent Robert Barnes looked as if he was headed to keeping his seat by the narrowest of margins — one vote. He had 736 votes, while challenger David Ingram had 735.

Remember, this was a two-person race, so whoever got the most votes was going to win.

But Chelsea had 26 provisional ballots left to count, so Barnes and Ingram knew the race wasn’t over yet. And now that the provisional ballots have been counted, the race still isn’t over — because Barnes and Ingram each ended up receiving 746 votes.

Of course, the chances of that happening are slim, which makes it all the more amazing that it happened again — in Chelsea, no less — with the Place 2 race. Incumbent Tony Picklesimer and challenger Scott Weygand, separated by two votes during the Aug. 28 election, each ended up with 696 votes. That race was destined for a runoff since it was originally a three-person race, but it’s still amazing that two candidates received the exact same number of votes.

If any of our readers was looking for proof that your vote matters, look no further. If either Barnes or Ingram had secured one more vote, that man would be holding Chelsea’s Place 3 council seat today.

It’s important for Chelsea voters to go vote on Oct. 9, just as it’s important for voters in other cities to participate in any other runoff elections that day.

The same is true of the Sept. 18 referendum. Voter turnout is expected to be low that day, which means it’s likely a small percentage of people will make an important decision about the future of our state.

Be one of those people and help increase voter turnout by reminding those around you to vote too. The only way to improve the path we’re on — whether in a Shelby County municipality or across the whole state — is to participate.

The We Say is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.