Easy to see when one vote matters

It is easy to become jaded about voting when there are more than 120 million people who head to their respective polling sites, wondering if one vote will get lost in a sea of ballots.

But for every electoral landslide or entrenched incumbent surmising a comfortable win, there is a race so tight it should reignite the electorate and motivate a new wave of voters in the next cycle.

Look no further than Nashua’s Ward 1 race for the New Hampshire House.

Republican incumbent Elizabeth Ferreira, who lost by six votes during the Nov. 8 election, ended up with a six-vote victory over Democrat Sylvia Gale after a recount on Tuesday.

"I’m not declaring victory yet," Ferreira said after the recount conclusion at the Statehouse. There are an additional six challenged and two absentee ballots that could swing the election back to Gale.

The state’s Ballot Law Commission will take up the challenge Monday at the Legislative Office Building in Concord.

The Ward 1 race isn’t even the closest in New England.

The Providence Journal reports former Mayor Thomas Lazieh won the Central Falls Ward 5 council seat over incumbent Kenneth Vaudreuil by a 364-363 margin.

One vote.

Vaudreuil was ahead by 10 ballots on election night, but mail-in votes gave Lazieh a one-vote lead. The provisional ballots flipped it by one back toward Vaudreuil until the recount from the state elections board finalized the result.

"It doesn’t sink into people how their one vote decides government – especially on a local level," Lazieh told the Journal.

This isn’t even the first time Rhode Island has had a one-vote margin of victory.

State Rep. Carlos E. Tobon, a Pawtucket Democrat, lost by one vote to William San Bento in 2012.

While many of the historic "one-vote victories" have been debunked throughout the years, it does happen. And whether it is a single digit or counting the difference on fingers and toes, it says a lot about the importance of getting to the polls to ensure the best representatives are elected by a majority of the constituents, not just those who take the time to vote.