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Voting makes a difference

November 8, 2012
The Leader Herald

There's something to be said for the adage, "every vote counts."

Several local elections were decided by slim margins Tuesday. A couple of them are so close, they won't be over until absentee ballots are counted.

For example, in the race between Republican George Amedore and Democrat Cynthia Tkaczyk for state Senate, Tkaczyk is ahead by only 139 votes. The actual outcome is pending the counting of absentee ballots.

In the contest for Gloversville City Court judge between Republican-Conservative Traci DiMezza and John Clo, who was on an independent line, the two are separated by a mere 338 votes. DiMezza is the likely winner, but 324 absentee ballots need to be counted and another 95 absentees still could come in.

In the local congressional race between U.S. Rep. Bill Owens, a Democrat, and Matt Doheny, a Republican, Owens won by only about 5,000 votes, according to unofficial tallies.

The popular vote in the presidential race was close, too. President Obama won the popular vote by only about 2.6 million votes, according to early estimates.

People who don't think their votes matter and stay away from the polls are missing a great opportunity to help determine the outcome of elections. Unfortunately, voter turnout Tuesday fell short of what we would consider strong.

In the presidential race, an estimated 14 million fewer people -11 percent less - voted this year than in President Obama's election in 2008, according to The Associated Press. A preliminary estimate by George Mason University's Michael McDonald set the rate at 60 percent of eligible voters, compared to 61.6 percent in 2008.

MSNBC reported that out of 169 countries that track voter turnout, the United States ranks 120th. Nationally, between 40 percent and 38 percent of eligible voters in 2012 and 2008, respectively, had no say in who became their elected officials.

In Tuesday's local elections, only 48 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the presidential election in Montgomery County, and only 54 percent voted in Fulton County.

In Gloversville's City Court race, only 4,701 ballots were cast out of 7,973 eligible city voters, for a turnout of about 59 percent, based on unofficial vote tallies. Some 40 percent of city voters failed to participate.

In close races, a few votes easily could tip the scales. Those who are eligible to vote and could get to the polls, but choose not to, are missing out on a privilege that people living in dictatorial nations wish they had.



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