Your Vote Really Does Count

Your single vote can make a big difference. Did you know that during the last few years in the U.S., several races have been decided by a single vote or ended in a tie?

  • 2017: A Virginia House of Delegates race ended in a tie out of more than 23,000 votes cast. The tie was broken by pulling a name out of a bowl.
  • 2016: A Vermont state House seat was determined by one vote out of 2,000 votes cast. When the same contenders faced each other back in 2010, the race was also decided by one vote —the other person won!
  • 2016: A Wyoming state House primary was decided by just one vote, 583 to 582.

Tied elections are settled in a variety of ways depending on the state:

  • In Crawfordsville, Indiana, in 1891, a 200-yard footrace determined the winner. William Simms appeared to be on his way to a decisive victory for County Treasurer, but he fell three yards from the finish line, giving his opponent the race and thereby the County Treasurer position.
  • In 1994, a tied election for a Wyoming state House seat was broken, live, on NBC's Today show. The secretary of state pulled the winner’s name from the governor's hat – written on a ping pong ball.
  • In 2002, the ultimate winner of a tie for a county commissioner seat in Nevada was determined by drawing the highest card. The candidates each drew a jack! The Democrat won by drawing a jack of spades, which beat the Republican's jack of diamonds.

It may sometimes seem like your voice can get lost in the crowd, but you never know when your ballot might become the deciding factor!