Our Scout Programs instill in our Scouts the concept that not only do they vote, their votes count. At any given Presidential election, only about half those who can vote do vote. On smaller elections, the number dwindles even further. Why do those with the right to vote not exercise the right? Many believe their one little vote will not be missed, and could not make a difference anyway. But one vote can change the world.
Our Scouts choose, organize, and lead their own activities. The vote democratically and then decide what to do via consensus, meaning they discuss the issue until everyone agrees. From the moment our Scouts join, they develop an appreciation for Democracy by learning while doing.
In this way, our Scout Programs develop responsible citizens. Our Scouts vote in our Scout Programs and learn their votes count in a very real way. Our Scouts know their voices are heard and their participation matters.
Participation in our society does matter. Each of us can make a difference in our communities and in the lives we lead. Historically, one vote has made a difference. An example includes the anti-stamp resolution Patrick Henry brought before the Virginia Assembly. The outcome of which was determined by a single vote.
Other examples of when a single vote has determined the outcome include:
* the vote by United States Senator Edmund G. Ross, whose vote during the Senate proceeding regarding President Andrew Johnson saved his Presidency
* the Electoral College Vote cast by a single Elector in favor of candidates Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams and Rutherford B. Hayes who consequently became our Presidents
* the vote cast by a citizen during an election for an Indiana Legislator in 1844, which determined the outcome of who would serve as that areas Legislator. Later, one of that Legislator's votes in the legislature was the swing vote sending Edward Allen Hennegan to the United States Senate. Subsequently, Senator Hennegan during a vote of whether to admit Texas as a State, cast the tie breaking vote in the U. S. Senate in favor of admitting Texas as a State
* and the Legislative votes cast for admitting the States of California, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, all of which were determined by single votes.
Each of these votes was cast consciously, and required effort. The consequences of which have left indelible marks on the landscape of American Society.
Of course, many times one single vote does not sway an election. But what happens when many people feel the same way, and many people choose not to vote because their one vote will not make a difference? In that case, a tremendous number of votes, and sometimes the true will of the people, are lost because voters did not exercise their rights. Each individual counts and we all add up to a nation of voices.
Our efforts meaningfully do matter. Our Scouts understand and appreciate that Democracy is by the people, for the people, and so the people must embrace their responsibilities as well as their rights.