News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


One by one, every vote helps pick public officials

One person picked up the newspaper Wednesday morning and moaned that she should have voted in Tuesday's primary run-off election. She was looking at the top headline that said, "Tie in Morgan runoff." Her vote may have made a difference in the District 2 Morgan County Commission race that ended in a dead heat, she said. Other people probably said the same thing.

Incumbent Richard Lyons and challenger Ken Livingston, after weeks of asking for votes, each received 4,020 votes in the Republican runoff.

Officials apparently will decide the outcome next week when they determine the status of 12 provisional ballots, ballots that polling officials felt they had reason to reject.

Turnout for the runoff that was held later this year to allow servicemen and women in the war zone to get ballots in on time was actually pretty good. Tuesday's total vote in the commission race was about 5,500 votes less than the June 6 primary votes in that race.

What if at least some of those 5,000-plus voters had joined their fellow citizens and gone to the polls and helped finish the job?

People get the idea that their vote doesn't count because too many races end with the winner having a wide margin of victory. But votes are like bricks, they add up one at a time, and are the foundation of a democracy.

Ideally, any race shouldn't come down to a delayed conclusion and hang on the validity of challenged votes. But when they do, those officials in charge of the election have the heavy responsibility of making the count transparent in order to leave no doubt about the outcome.

Veteran Probate Judge Bobby Day said members of the Board of Registrars must first verify the information for each of the ballots. Then, Mr. Day, election officials, the sheriff and circuit clerk must conduct a public count of the ballots.

But what if more people had voted ...?

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