Come August 8th this year Kenya will hold a General Election. Voters will elect the President and his deputy, members of Parliament (Senate and National Assembly) and devolved government members (county governors and ward representatives).
This means it’s time for me to vote again. Based on my last experiences during Post Election Violence in 2007/2008, it’s easy to come up with reasons not to go to the polls. “My vote doesn’t count, so what’s the point? “I’m too busy. I don’t know who to vote for.” “The election will be rigged anyway”.
While skipping the vote may not seem to cause any harm, the long-term consequences are disastrous.
Why does my vote matter?
- I get to complain all I want. If you don’t vote, you can’t complain. Do you feel that your taxes are too high or your health care, infrastructure, traffic, cost of living, rent, employment? If these or other issues matter to you, then your vote matters, too. If you don’t cast your vote, you don’t get to open your mouth and complain.
- Vote ratios matter. The ratio by which the candidates win or lose matters. A landslide win makes for a more powerful politician than one who barely squeaks by. Your vote can either help keep that power in check or give it an extra boost.
- The pollsters might be wrong. It’s easy to get discouraged about voting if you listen to the media’s predictions. Also with the rise of fake news. A new study reveals that 90 percent of Kenyans have seen or heard false news about the 2017 general election, with 87 percent reporting instances of deliberately false or fake news. Ipsos and Infotrak bosses have torn into each other’s opinion polls that showed conflicting figures of approval ratings on Jubilee presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta and NASA’s Raila Odinga.Infotrak executive director Angela Ambitho has trashed Ipsos’s findings, terming them “stale”. Ipsos put Uhuru ahead with 47 per cent against Raila’s 43 per cent, with five percent of the voters undecided on whom they will vote for.But only hours later, Infotrak released its presidential popularity report, giving Raila a razor-thin margin of 47 per cent against Uhuru’s 46 per cent, with six per cent of voters still undecided.
- You’re only one person, but so is everybody else who votes. If millions of people stay home because they think their votes don’t count, the people who do turn out to vote become much more powerful. Are their voices really more important than yours? Your vote is your voice. Elect to be heard.
- Your vote always counts. Not just in close elections. In every election. Your vote counts the same as every other individual who votes. Just make sure you head to your polling station and make a difference.
- We must cast our votes to help flush out corrupt leaders
- You don’t have to be an expert on the issues to cast your vote. There’s no need to pull an all-nighter before sending in your vote. You won’t be graded.
- You’re part of the military family. Elected officials make decisions about many things that affect you, including military benefits. It’s your life — make your voice heard.
- You live in a democracy. Voting is one of your most constitutional rights.
How important is One Vote?
- In 1645, one vote gave Oliver Cromwell control of England
- In 1649, one vote caused Charles I of England to be executed
- In 1776, one vote gave America the English language instead of German
- Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and Rutherford B. Hayes all became US Presidents by a margin of one vote.
- Texas, California, Idaho, Washington and Oregon all became part of the USA by one vote. The map of the US would have been very different.
- In 1845, one vote brought Texas into the Union
- In 1846, a one vote margin in the U.S. Senate approved President Polk’s request for a Declaration of War against Mexico.
- In 1868, one vote saved President Andrew Johnson from impeachment
- In 1876, one vote gave Rutherford B. Hayes the presidency of the United States
- In 1923, one vote gave Adolf Hitler leadership of the Nazi Party
- In 1941, one vote saved Selective Service – just weeks before Pearl harbor was attacked
- In 1960, John F. Kennedy was elected by one vote per precinct
- In 2000, the difference in the total vote in the state of Florida in the Presidential race between George W. Bush and Al Gore was less than one-half of one percent. A recount was mandated by the Secretary of State. George W. Bush received the electoral votes from Florida. He won the election by 1 electoral vote; 270 were needed and he received 271.
- In 2015, one vote made gay marriage legal in all 50 states.
- In 2008 – Minnesota voters cast 2.9 million votes in their US Senate race that eventually was decided by 312 votes (1/1000th of one %)
- South Africa lost the bid to host 2006 world cup to Germany by one vote.
One single vote, one single voice makes a difference that can change history. Look at the people in the Bible who had only one vote to offer and yet their voice, their influence affects us even today:
- Adam’s vote brought death into the world.
- Noah’s vote saved the human race.
- Abraham’s vote brought the Jewish nation into being.
- Joseph’s vote preserved it.
- Moses’ vote freed his people.
- Mary’s vote enabled God to become man.
- Jesus’ vote saved the world.
- Peter and Paul’s vote brought salvation to every person including you and me.
We tend to believe that groups change the world, but throughout history it has always been individuals who make the difference, individuals who at some critical point in their lives cast a deciding vote on what they would do or let others do; what they would say or allow to be said; what they would themselves attempt or support an attempt by someone else.
No matter who or where, it usually comes down to a deciding vote, and each of us has a deciding vote.
Your vote is your voice – use it!
YOUR ONE VOTE COUNTS!