VOTER APATHY AT ALL-TIME HIGH - The Value Of A Vote

(04/24/2001)

Most West Virginians who are registered to vote do not go to the polls, often less than 38% exercise their democratic right. Some elections have less than 30% turnout.

In the 2000 presidential election, 12,365 voters did not cast a vote for the President of the United States (660,489 ballots cast).

West Virginia ranks 44th in the nation for voter participation with 75% registered.

Between 1998-2000, 30% of West Virginia's new voters characterized themselves not as Democrats or Republicans but "other."

Twenty-Five percent of the 18-24 year old voters don't vote because "their voice doesn't make a difference."

Calhoun apathy is probably linked to the economy or lack of jobs with about 70% of wage earners now working out of the county, traveling 50-150 miles a day, getting up early and returning late. There is little time to be connected to community concerns.

West Virginia's political system has changed very little since the great depression. The entrenchment counts on people with vested interests going to the polls and the rest staying away.

History proves that one vote counts:

In 1923, one vote gave Adolph Hitler leadership of the Nazi party.

In 1941, the Selective Service Act (the draft) was saved by one vote just weeks before pearl Harbor was attacked.

In 1960, John F. Kennedy beat Richard Nixon in the presidential race by less than one vote per precinct.

In 1649, one vote cost King Charles I of England his head - 67 against and 68 for.

In 1776, according to folklore, one vote gave America the English language instead of German.

Texas, California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho were all admitted to the union by one vote.

In 1867, The Alaska Purchase was ratified by just one vote.

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

In 1962, the governors of maine, Rhode Island and North dakota were all elected by a margin of one vote per precinct.


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