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One vote decided on war with Mexico. In 1846, the Mexican army invaded Texas and President James K. Polk asked for a Declaration of War. The Senate did not want to go to war, and the declaration passed by only one vote. The U.S. won the war, and, with that victory, added five states: Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and California.

One vote gave the U.S. the state of Alaska. The Alaska Purchase of 1867 was ratified by just one vote--paving the way for the territory to be America’s largest state when it became part of the U.S. in 1959.

One vote saved President Andrew Johnson from being removed from office. The House brought charges of impeachment against Johnson, but the Senate, which decides impeachment cases, found him innocent by one vote.

One vote gave Rutherford B. Hayes the presidency. In the 1876 presidential election, Samuel Tilden received a half million more popular votes than Hayes. The electoral college was not in agreement about who should be America’s next leader. A special commission decided, although Hayes had lost the actual vote by the citizens, he had won the electoral vote by one ballot, 185 to 184.

One vote in each of the voting districts of California reelected President Woodrow Wilson. If Wilson’s opponent, Charles E. Hughes, had received an additional vote in each one of California’s voting precincts, he would have defeated Wilson.

One vote per precinct gave Harry S. Truman the presidency in 1948. If Truman’s opponent, Thomas E. Dewey, had received one vote more per precinct in Ohio and California, there would have been a tie and the House of Representatives would have decided the election. Because Dewey had more support in the House than Truman, Dewey would have won.

One vote per precinct in 1960 would have elected Richard Nixon as president, rather than John F. Kennedy.

The election on Nov. 7, 2000, was the closest presidential race in history. In the final count, Gov. George W. Bush of Texas won by four electoral votes, but Vice President Al Gore had won the popular vote by 337,576. Bush was the first presidential candidate in more than a century to win the presidency while losing the popular vote.

One of the biggest political problems in the U.S. is the lack of voter turnout. In the 2000 election, just over half the population (51%) voted. The people who did not vote gave up a chance to make a difference.

Women have only had the right to vote since the passage of the 19th amendment in 1920. Now, women have the privilege to run for any office.

I cast my vote on Monday, Apr. 28. I am an American citizen. I care about what happens to our nation. I also want to honor the people of my heritage for caring, fighting and sacrificing to let me have this privilege.

What about you? Will you be the one to make a difference?

This Week's Editorial:

By Helen Morris:

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