Letter to the Editor: Your vote mattered!

When people say voting doesn’t matter, they are absolutely wrong. Every vote matters in Florida.
Results tabulated and released on Saturday by Florida’s 67 county Supervisors of Elections showed Nikki Fried leading Matt Caldwell in the race for Florida Commissioner of Agriculture by a margin of only 5,326 or 0.07% of the 8 million votes cast throughout the state. The statewide margin translates to a change of only 2 votes in Glades County, 6 votes in Hendry County, and 7 votes in Okeechobee County.

The difference between victory and defeat in the U.S. Senate race contested by Bill Nelson and Rick Scott is similarly small: 6 changed votes in Glades, 14 in Hendry, and 17 in Okeechobee. For the Florida Governor’s race the DeSantis’ statewide margin of victory depended on 16 votes in Glades, 36 in Hendry, and 46 in Okeechobee. Recounts will determine the final victors but what will not change is the significance of your vote and that of every other registered Floridian in these important races that determine the policies and directions of our state.

The narrow margins of this year’s contests is not unusual for Florida. The 2010 and 2014 Florida Governor elections won by Rick Scott were both decided by differences of around 1 percent. In the year 2000, a comparably tiny number of votes in Florida determined who would become President, and thus, who would be making the momentous decisions regarding war in Iraq and the economic crisis of 2008. Similarly critical to our shared fate is the professionalism and integrity we rely upon in our county Supervisors of Elections.

The 2018 election attracted 2.5 million more voters compared to the 2010 and 2014 gubernatorial races in which approximately 5.5 million Floridians voted. This demonstrates that more people are taking an interest. But it also means that 5 million other registered voters in our state simply couldn’t be bothered with the relatively easy task of requesting, marking and mailing in a ballot.

So, the next time someone asks if you are registered to vote or if you plan to vote, and you begin to answer in a dismissive way, stop and think about the historical facts. In Florida every vote matters. Each individual vote has the potential to shape the destiny of our community, state, nation and world. Casting an informed vote is the responsibility, obligation, and privilege of every United States citizen.

John Capece, Vice Chair
Glades County Democrats

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