LITTLE ROCK, Ar. (KTVE/KARD) – If you’re not convinced that every vote counts, consider the race for one of the U.S. Senate seats in Pennsylvania. At last count, the difference in the totals was 31.2 percent to 31.1 percent – two tenths of a percentage point difference.
Closer to home, in our neighboring state to the south, the new mayor of Pineville, Louisiana, won by five votes. If only six of the loser’s supporters had voted, he would have won by a single vote.
In the 2020 election, the candidates for a school board seat in California tied. So the winner, as the law requires, was decided by a roll of the dice. The challenger rolled snake eyes, and the incumbent threw a three. Even with the dice, the winner won by only one.
Stories such as those are interesting. Since they are rare, we may be inclined to overlook the one fact that each race had in common: The winner was chosen by the slimmest of margins. That slim margin will determine who will make consequential decisions that affect voters.
Arkansas’s 2022 election may be one of the most consequential in a decade. We have redrawn the state’s legislative boundaries, which the law requires every ten years after the U.S. Census. Although many legislators will be re-elected, we are in a sense electing a brand-new general assembly.
Thanks to Arkansas’s term-limit law, we also are electing a new governor, attorney general, lieutenant governor, and treasurer; the incumbent Republican secretary of state has a challenger in the primary and will face a Democrat Party challenger in the general election.
The incumbent land commissioner will have an opponent in the general election, and three people are running in the general election to become auditor. We will be choosing three associate justices of the Arkansas Supreme Court, four court of appeals associate judges, sixteen circuit judges, twenty-eight prosecuting attorneys, and one district court judge.
Our four representatives in the United States House are running for re-election, as is one of our U.S. senators. Every one of the candidates we elect will have a direct effect on many Arkansans. Voting in Arkansas is easy. Early voting continues Saturday and until 5 p.m. Monday. On Tuesday, Election Day, the polls are open from 7:30 in the morning until 7:30 p.m. That gives every voter twelve hours to cast a ballot.
Even with a one-hundred percent voter turnout, the outcome of a race could be razor thin. But a large turnout at least gives us the assurance our government reflects the authentic voice of voters. The United States is a free nation because many worked and fought to give us freedom. Our vote is a note of thanks.