Tomorrow, for the eighth time in an official election, I will cast a vote for my husband. This is exactly the same number of times he has appeared on the ballot, in case you are wondering 😉.
In his 32-year career, he has won some elections, he has lost some and he has, like tomorrow, run unopposed. Of course, the losses stung. Neither of us likes to lose anything — foot races, driveway basketball games, Sheepshead or elections. In all of those cases, though, you spend a little time analyzing what led to the loss, and then you move on.
If you keep an open mind, you can even become friends with your political opponents.
Beyond our own experience, we’ve had a few relatives who have lost some nail-biters and their experiences, like ours, also shows just how valuable a single vote can be.
In 2010, my brother won the primary in a three-way race for the Sun Prairie City Council, but lost the general election by fewer than five votes. He could have requested a recount, but he chose, instead, to meet with his opponent, discuss the concerns that inspired his run, and then move on. The following year, he won an election for an at-large seat on the council and served amiably alongside his former opponent.
My husband’s cousin Donald once lost a race so close it nearly required a second drawing of lots, and was, in fact, decided by the initial lot pull. His 2007 Grosse Point City Council election ended in a literal draw, with each candidate mandated to “cast lots” to determine the winner. Donald’s opponent pulled the lot that read “elected” and was awarded the victory pending a recount. Each candidate picked up a single vote in the hand count that followed, which would have resulted in a second casting of lots, but Donald withdrew saying, “My only goal was to have all the votes counted. It was contrary to my goal that we have another chance drawing and didn’t want it done again. I was very satisfied with the results.”
I have written before about my experience as a witness to a voter recount, how officials carefully examined each of the county’s thousands of ballots and treated each one with care.
Every election matters tremendously to each candidate and the people they represent. Tomorrow, on my ballot, I will be voting on a state school superintendent, a court of appeals judge, two school board members, and the issue of gerrymandering.
I hope those candidates know how much I respect their willingness to run for office, how hard I know they worked, how carefully I’ve considered my vote and how sincerely I wish them well.
I’m voting in person tomorrow and I’m looking forward to that swish of my ballot getting sucked up into that counter.
If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll vote too.