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So, you think your vote doesn't count?

So you think your vote doesn't count? Think again. We just happen to have proof that it does after last week's primary election.

The Democratic nomination for Lewis County commissioner was even closer after an official vote canvass was conducted last week. Candidate Robert Golden garnered 1,007 votes, while Michael Holden tallied 1,004 votes, according to Mary Lou Myers, county clerk of Lewis County.

No matter how you slice it, that's a close race.

If just a score of people had switched their votes, a canvass might not have been needed and either Golden or Holden would already have the satisfaction of knowing he had won their party's nomination.

"The person who says, 'My vote doesn't make a difference,' ... it does," says Myers. "Every vote does count, and it does mean something."

This is not the first commissioner's race in Lewis County to go down to the wire. In the last general election, there was a a one-vote difference that led to a recount.

It should give the general electorate some satisfaction knowing that their votes do matter in close races. But it should be the same for races in which the voting margin is not razor thin. Every vote is tallied and added to the candidates' totals, providing the ballots are marked properly and procedures are followed.

The sum of many individual choices, then, ultimately becomes the will of the people. Think about this fact when the general election rolls around in November.

Voter participation needs to increase for the U.S to continue to exist as a viable republic with elected representatives to carry out the functions of government. If the majority of citizens doesn't vote, then a minority of registered voters decides our future on the county, state and national levels. People also may feel they have less of a stake in following the rule of law or participating in society if they haven't had a say in electing the governmental bodies that write our laws and craft our public policy.

We think greater efforts must be made to assure that all citizens have the opportunity to vote, because giving voice to your ideas and hope for the future is what voting is all about.

When you go to the polls and vote for the candidates of your choice, you are speaking through the act of balloting and making a statement against cynicism and the jaded view that your vote doesn't make a difference. That's power.

Today's editorial is a reflection of the opinion of the Exponent editorial board, which is comprised of James G. Logue, Kevin S. Courtney, Patrick M. Martin, Matt Harvey and J. Cecil Jarvis.

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