Monday, September 15, 2008

Winning by the Numbers

November is coming. We are now in the fall and our presidential candidates are traveling, stumping, and campaigning at full speed. One interesting thing I found out recently was that Barack Obama alone has registered 4 million first-time voters. The politicos are discussing that’s a high number – but is it enough come November?

Are four million votes enough to win an election?

In the past two presidential elections, we’ve seen it all boil down to ONE state that ultimately decided the outcome of the entire election. In spite of how much votes the opposing candidate gets, our dear American government system has a “winner takes all” kind of style when it comes to the presidential election.

2000: Florida - we all know what happened. But how many votes were disputed in Florida? More than 113,000 votes.

That’s less than a million.

2004: Ohio was the crucial battleground state for both parties. Despite all the debate, Bush won by 118,000 votes in Ohio.

That’s still less than a million.

So, considering the history of our recent presidential elections – we come to this conclusion: presidential elections can be decided by an extremely close margin. Of course, other factors count such as number of states won in the Electoral College, polls, media coverage, and the campaign strategies. Yet, the message remains the same: Sometimes you don’t need to be in excess of millions of votes to actually win.

The numbers need to be updated but as far as I know, there are 11 million people who identify themselves as either deaf or hard of hearing in America. How many of them are dependent on SSI/SSDI? How many of them know the benefits of Vocational Rehabilitation? How many of us have had our lives greatly improved with the ADA? All those things are the fruits of our American government. If you choose to take up the reins to steer the government in the direction that you want not only for yourself but also for the deaf community, all you need to do is vote.

A vote may not just change your life; it may change the lives for your fellow deaf people. It’s your duty and responsibility as an American citizen and a deaf person to register to vote and VOTE on the Election Day!

Remember the numbers again:

11 Million. We count.