Your vote will count Tuesday

Published 11:32 pm Monday, August 23, 2004

By Staff
The late Devon Wiggins, former Escambia County Judge of Probate, used to say, "I've run and won; I've run and lost. But I prefer to run unopposed."
Several people in our county are fortunate enough to be unopposed and spared the stresses of campaigning as municipal elections approach this Tuesday. Brewton Mayor Ted Jennings and Councilman Frank Cotton are among the lucky ones, as is Pollard Mayor Carolyn Lambeth; three incumbent city councilmen in Pollard; two incumbent councilmen in Atmore; and the entire slate of Riverview's officials.
Most are not that lucky.
In East Brewton and Flomaton there are three candidates in the each of mayor's races; in Atmore there are four. A total of 34 individuals are participating in challenged races for the city councils in Brewton, East Brewton, Flomaton, Pollard and Atmore. None of the incumbents have opposition in Riverview.
Almost without exception, people who throw their hats into the proverbial political ring in municipal elections do so with only the best of intentions - to make their communities better places to live. Last Tuesday morning at the Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce's "coffee with the candidates" forum and Tuesday evening at the Alabama Democratic Conference (ADC) forum in Atmore, it was interesting to hear the candidates' ideas for improving our communities.
Sometimes the ideas are predictable. Sometimes, they're off the wall. You can almost always count on candidates being for economic development and finding "good, clean recreation" for young people. In Brewton, there has been lots of talk about sewerage problems this year. In Atmore, there is always talk about drainage problems. The importance of a thriving downtown retail area generally comes up, as do potholes and beautification issues.
Whether you agree with their platforms or not, remember that the candidates whose names appear on this week's ballots were willing to take the risk of losing, being embarrassed about it, and in many cases, spending many months wondering if their friends truly supported them.
Remember that this Tuesday, August 24, is voting day, and that your vote truly counts. Here's a little proof from history:
Remember the famous photo of President Harry S. Truman holding the newspaper with the erroneous headline "Dewey wins?" In 1948, only one additional vote in each precinct of Ohio and California would have thrown the election into the U.S. House of Representatives where Dewey enjoyed more support than the incumbent President Truman. As it was, Thomas Dewey was expected to win the general election by a landslide, so most Republicans stayed home. Only 51.5 percent of the electorate voted.
More recently and closer to home, in 1984 – one vote in the City of Athens, Alabama, elected Maurice Nichols Mayor. In 1996, one vote could have avoided the coin toss that decided the Alabama, Limestone county Board of Education, District 2.
By just one vote, California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington became states.
The lesson from history? Don't take anything for granted. See you at the polls on Tuesday.