The 24th Amendment was ratified Jan. 23, 1964, and Section 1 has the words: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.”
Every eligible citizen should vote in each election, if at all possible, to express their interest and involvement in our government (local, state and federal). Such a practice should help keep other leaders honest. If we don’t vote, then we have no reason to complain about any decision those in office decide to make. Some citizens feel their vote is not important. Let’s check the historical records and then make a decision.
In 1645 the Parliament in England voted 90 to 91 in favor of Oliver Cromwell. King Charles I was beheaded by a vote of 68 to 67. In 1875 France changed from a monarchy to a republic with a vote of 353 to 352. During the American Revolution, anti-British sentiment was high in the colonies. A bill was presented to the Continental Congress to make German the official language over English, the bill was defeated by one vote.
In 1845, Texas was admitted to the union by a vote of 26 to 25 when Indiana Sen. Hannigan changed his vote in favor of its admission. That senator had won his election to office by only one vote!
In 1868 President Andrew Johnson escaped impeachment by one vote. In 1876 Rutherford B. Hayes was elected president by an electoral vote of 185 to 184. On Nov. 9, 1923, the leaders of the tiny Nazi party met in a Munich tavern and elected Adolf Hitler as their leader, by a margin of one vote.
Just a few years ago, the N.C. Legislature was considering the “Education Lottery,” and the vote was tied and the presiding officer, the lieutenant governor, cast the deciding vote. Her one vote was the tie-breaker. Even more recent, was the U.S. Senate’s vote on the president’s nominee for a seat on the Supreme Court. One senator delivered her one-hour speech to the Senate and stated that she would vote “yes,” for Judge Kavanaugh. The vote of that one senator was the deciding factor in favor of the judge.
After considering the “one vote” record, consider the disaster of World War II caused by Adolf Hitler or the vote to make German our official language. Only officially cast votes are to be counted, but your vote can only be counted if you go to the polls.
Take time to be an informed voter and listen to what the candidates are saying and not saying. Ask questions, write letters to express your opinions, because no politician has all the answers. Always remaining on the sidelines will not help solve our country’s problems.
C. Curtiss Tatum resides in Benson.