If You Do Not Vote Do Not Complain
(The Power of One Vote…)

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Tuesday, December 12, the voters of Alabama will have an opportunity to elect their next United States Senator. The winner of this special election will replace former Senator Jeff Sessions until after the General Election in November 2020. The race pits former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore (R-Gallant) against Former United States Attorney Doug Jones (D-Fairfield).

True to historic norms this race has been a contest that is not for the faint of heart. It is a contest that going back to the Republican Primary Election has seen the Republican Leadership in the United States Senate support the appointed incumbent, Luther Strange, over Judge Moore with millions of dollars from super PACs aligned with Sen. Mitch McConnell. It has seen allegations of sexual abuse of teens aimed at Judge Moore. It has seen President Donald Trump endorse Luther Strange in the Primary, reuse to endorse Roy Moore in the Runoff and now President Trump has come out with a full-throated endorsement of Moore. It has seen numerous sitting U. S. Senators and U. S. Representatives withdraw their endorsement of Judge Moore and call for him to withdraw from the race. It has seen the Republican National Committee (RNC) work closely with the Moore campaign, withdraw its support and now again announce that the RNC is supporting Moore. It has seen the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee withdraw its support for Moore.

There has been much discussion of whether the Senate will vote to seat Judge Moore should he be elected on December 12 or if seated the Senate Ethics Committee will recommend to the full Senate that Moore be expelled from the Senate.

Polling has been all over the board in evaluating this race with some showing Moore up by 11+ points to showing Jones up by 7-8 points. The most recent polls suggest that the race is almost too close to call with the margins being within the statistical margin of error.
Voters in Alabama can be grouped in several different categories:

  • Staunch Roy Moore supporters – These are those who are loyal to Moore and refuse to question or believe that Moore could even remotely be guilty of the allegations that have been leveled against him. A long-time, prominent lobbyist in Montgomery was heard to say this past weekend “Roy Moore’s supporters are so loyal that they would crawl across a field of broken glass on their bellies to vote for Moore”. That type of loyalty to a candidate assures that Moore’s base vote will turn out. History has indicated that the number of voters in that base are between 300,000-350,000 voters.
  • Yellow Dog Democrats – The old saying is that some are such strong supporters of the Democrat Party that they would vote for a “Yellow Dog”. If my dog, a yellow lab, was on the ballot in this election I would seriously consider voting for her.
  • Dye-Hard Republican Voters – This is a group that, like the Yellow-Dog Democrats, will vote for party without regard to allegations or concerns about the candidate. The sentiment is that it is better to have a reliable Republican vote than a Democrat.
  • Republican Crossover Voters – There are a number of Republicans who had expressed such concern over Roy Moore that they plan to vote for the Democrat Jones because they cannot abide voting for Roy Moore, and
  • Non-Voters – This is the group of people who are so disgusted with both candidates they do not plan to vote at all.

Sadly, the vast majority of voters in Alabama appear to fall into the last category. They will not be voting for either candidate. Estimates from Secretary of State John Merrill indicate that he looks for voter turnout to be in the range of 20-25%. While a turnout above 20% will be an improvement from the Primary and Run-off it is still far below the turnout in the 2014 Governor’s race or the 2016 Presidential race. If the turnout reaches 25% that means that 12.5% of the registered voters, not population, will determine who our next Senator will be.

In a Special Election such as the one next week voter turnout is key. With the election coming less than two weeks before Christmas Day turnout is expected to be low. As citizens of Alabama, and more importantly of the United States, we have an obligation and responsibility to cast our vote. Many thousands of Americans have died defending our right to vote and we owe those who paid the ultimate price to respect their sacrifice and participate in the process that lets us choose who will represent us.

People will say what difference does just one vote make. Consider for a moment the following:
The Power of One Vote….

Here are some instances where one vote made all the difference…

  • In 1776, one vote gave America the English language instead of German.
  • In 1800, one vote kept Aaron Burr from becoming President. That one vote elected Thomas Jefferson.
  • One vote gave statehood to Texas (1845), California (1850), Oregon (1859), Washington (1889) and Idaho (1890).
  • In 1868, one vote saved President Andrew Johnson from impeachment.
  • In 1875, one vote changed France from a monarchy to a republic.
  • In 1876, one vote elected Rutherford B. Hayes to the presidency, and the man in the Electoral College who cast that vote was an Indiana Congressman elected by one vote.
  • In 1916, Woodrow Wilson was elected President by carrying one state by less than one vote per precinct.
  • In 1920, women won the right to vote by passage of the 19th amendment to the Constitution. Tennessee, the last state needed to pass the amendment, ratified the amendment by one vote.
  • In 1923, one vote gave Adolph Hitler leadership of the Nazi Party.
  • In 1960, John F. Kennedy’s margin of victory over Richard Nixon was less than one vote per precinct.
  • In 1968, Hubert Humphrey lost and Richard Nixon won the presidential election by a margin of fewer than three votes per precinct

As you can see one vote can make a huge difference. Please, regardless of who you vote for, do not forsake your privilege to vote. Go to the polls on December 12 (or if you cannot get to the polls on Election Day vote absentee) and cast your vote for the candidate of your choice – or in the alternative cast your vote against the candidate you least prefer. If you do not vote do not complain about who wins. Whatever you do, please vote.

Remember The Power of One Vote!

The Alabama House will convene the 2018 Regular Session at Noon on Tuesday, January 9, 2018
The Alabama Senate will convene the 2018 Regular Session at Noon Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The views and opinions contained in this report do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the clients of Public Strategies, LLC.