Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of reasons why people just don’t vote. They feel that everything is rigged, so their vote won’t count. They may be a Republican in a state or district that is primarily Democrat, like Washington State. There is also just a lot of confusing information out there, so it’s hard to know how to find out which candidate supports your principles. If you are one of those people, I hope to give you some reasons to go out and vote.

First is an example from my own area that really hits home. I live in the 19th District – it has traditionally been a very Democrat district, and one could almost feel as if it isn’t even worth voting. But 4 years ago, that changed. Representative Jim Walsh was elected in 2016, winning by only 559 votes. That is fewer than 2 people per neighborhood (precinct). Again in 2018, it was touch and go for Jim – with his opponent being up one night in the counting and him being up the next night. There is an old saying (and a book by the same title) “If it isn’t close, they can’t cheat.” So in this particular case and quite a few others around the state, the elections are very close. There was one that was won by 15 votes, and another by 80. Senator Hans Zeiger won by only 47 votes in one of his races. We are not really as blue as some people paint our state. Many of those races are won by just a few votes. Please do your part to push these candidates over the top.

Another reason it is so important to vote is that this election is like no other. There is no other election where turnout has made as big a difference than this one. Don’t believe me? Here are the numbers as of last night. Remember that we’ve barely gotten our ballots in the mail. Auditor’s offices from all over the state report how many ballots they have received. Statewide, almost 18% of all ballots sent out have been received back already. Compare that to 2016 when only 6.2% of ballots had been returned at this point. This is a turnout election. We are divided almost exactly in half in this state and country. The candidates who win will be the ones who can get their supporters to vote.

I’d like to say a word for those who feel that they are lonely red voters in a deep blue state. Again, I’ll point out that turnout makes a big difference. If only a few people more voted in each precinct throughout the rural areas in 2016, we would have had Governor Bryant instead of Governor Inslee. Did Bryant make people angry by not supporting Trump. Absolutely. Would he have been a better choice? Absolutely. We wouldn’t have had one individual wielding power over all of our lives during the past seven months. We would not have had the very liberal laws passed by the Democrat-led legislature over the past 4 years. Just a few more votes in each neighborhood would have done it. But people stayed out because either they felt their vote didn’t count, or they were angry with Bryant about remarks he made. We have paid and will continue to pay dearly for not having those votes. Please do not make that mistake again this year. You will always find a reason to not like a candidate. But you need to look at what principles he or she stands for and those of their opponent. Then choose the one closest to yours.

I’ve worked with elected officials for years, and I can tell you that percentages make a huge difference, as well. A candidate who wins by 56% or more will feel encouraged to push their agenda even more aggressively. One who wins by only 50.6% of the vote is not so emboldened. So even in districts where you might not have a chance of winning, you can change the balance of power just by changing that percentage.

In past elections, many candidates have lost by only a few votes. This year, when there is such enthusiasm and drive on both sides, all bets are off. We may live in a blue state and it may seem like an uphill battle for Culp to win the Governor’s spot, but if any year is the one to do it, it’s this one. There are many Democrats who are so angry at Inslee and what he has done to our state and our economy (not to mention schools), that they are voting against him. Others are seeing the extreme progressive agenda at the federal level. By voting for and raising your candidates’ percentages, you will change the balance of power. If there was ever a chance for your vote to make a difference it will be this year.