Many people don’t vote because they believe that their vote doesn’t matter. They are wrong and the Commonwealth of Virginia has proven that the power of one vote can change the entire political picture.
The Democratic wave that rose on Election Day in Virginia last month delivered a final crash on the sand Tuesday when a Democratic challenger defeated a Republican incumbent by a single vote, leaving the Virginia House of Delegates evenly split between the two parties.
The victory by Shelly Simonds, a school board member in Newport News, was a civics lesson in every-vote-counts as she won 11,608 to 11,607 in a recount conducted by local election officials.
Ms. Simonds’s win means a 50-50 split in the State House, where Republicans had clung to a one-seat majority after losing 15 seats last month in a night of Democratic victories up and down the ballot, which were widely seen as a rebuke to President Trump. Republicans have controlled the House for 17 years.
It was former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil (D-MA) who said “all politics is local.” It starts in your local school boards, your city councils, your state legislative representatives. The base. That’s how Republicans have managed to game the system. They started at local elections, took over local city and town councils, state houses and governorships. They used gerrymandering to change districts that isolated Democratic voters. They elected judges that would rule in their favor. They passed laws that restricted and suppressed voters, especially minorities, the poor, and students.anyone who might vote for the Democrat. This all started at the local level. Your backyard.
Our system of government only works if people vote. It took the tenacity of voter 11,608 that made this difference. This is your country. You have a voice. Your voice is your vote. Your vote does matter and Virginia is proof.