Does Your Vote Count

By Alexis Timko

The idea that a single vote does not count can discourage people from voting in elections. However, this idea is challenged by political science professors and students at Youngstown State University who believe every vote counts.

Adam Fuller, assistant political science professor at YSU, believes that every vote contributes to a collective decision.

“There is a difference between what is rational for just yourself and what is rational as a member of a larger group,” Fuller said.

Fuller said if one person out of an entire group were to not vote, there may not be a noticeable change. However, he said if many people in that same group were not to vote, then it could completely change the outcome.

Greta Frost, a political science student at YSU, agrees that all votes play a part in the larger picture of the election.

“I believe that everyone’s vote matters,” Frost said. “This is true from the presidential level all the way down the ballot.”

Theories exist against the system, claiming that voting is a waste of time for people. Albert Sumell, associate economics professor at YSU, said some economists believe the chance of a single vote influencing the outcome of an election is virtually zero.

“Because there are thousands of votes being cast in local elections, and millions of votes being cast in national elections, every individual knows that the outcome of the election will be the same, regardless of whether that individual votes or not,” Sumell said.

Joseph Palardy, economics professor at YSU, said the probability of a single vote influencing the outcome is low but possible.

“In the presidential election, a single vote will count if the state in which the vote was cast was needed for an Electoral College win,” Palardy said. “… or the chance that the state in which the vote was casted tied.”

David Porter, political science professor at YSU, said this is why voting needs to be thought of as a collective activity rather than an individual activity.

“You may have more influence in tipping the election by talking to people and convincing them to vote,” Porter said.

The YSU professors agreed that it is important for everyone to fulfill their civic duty and encouraged students to vote in the election.