The Difference One Vote Can Make

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At this moment, wherever mayoral and town council elections are unfolding, editorial writers are pounding out their keen observations on how one vote does make a big difference.

And most of those writers will rely on a list that's been floating around in print and on the Internet for years now, and which details the difference one vote has made throughout the recorded history of the world.

If the list looks familiar to you, it may be because it has been printed verbatim, and repeatedly, by national columnists Abigail Van Buren and Ann Landers, to underscore the importance of each and every vote.

It seems to work, so we'll reproduce part of the list here, too:

In 1845, one vote brought Texas into the Union.

In 1875, one vote changed France from a monarchy to a republic.

In 1923, one vote gave Adolf Hitler leadership in the Nazi Party.

In 1941, one vote saved Selective Service, just weeks before Pearl Harbor was attacked.

Before the list inspires you to race out the door toward the nearest voter-registration center, however, you should know that all 100 percent of its statements are phony. All are manufactured urban legends as close to fact as the one about the guy who woke up one morning in a motel bathtub full of ice and noticed that one of his kidneys had been removed.

And so the list is useless in trying to prove the point that it's important for everyone to vote. But then, we don't need the list in the Rim country to make that point ... do we?

Instead of lists, consider the following statistic: in March 2000, 35.3 percent of the registered voters in Payson were responsible for electing a new mayor and three councilmembers. That means that only 2,891 of the 8,197 registered voters cared enough about the future of Payson to get out and vote.

The deadline to register is Feb. 11. Registration forms available at Payson Town Hall and the Payson Public Library must be received in Globe by 5 p.m. Early voting ballots will be available Feb. 7 through March 8. Call the town clerk's office at 474-5242 for voting information.

Do your part in this year's election: Make your vote count.

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