9 Times In History When One Vote Made All The Difference

There are many people who don’t cast their vote by giving one simple excuse – their vote won’t make a difference. But if you think that one vote doesn’t make a difference then you couldn’t be more wrong. There have been many instances in history where everything came down to that one vote.

Here are some of the most popular incidents when one vote turned the tables.

1. Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Lost the no-confidence motion and his Prime Ministership in the Parliament by a single vote.

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Before Vajpayee’s government, no government had lost a no-confidence motion by just one vote. On April 17, 1999, the India witnessed a drama that it had never witnessed before.

BSP’s MPs had initially promised to vote for the government but later went against it. When the voting ended, Vajpayee was no longer the Prime Minister of India.

Interestingly, it did not discourage him to make a dramatic return as the Prime Minister within few months.

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2. C. P. Joshi

During 2008, Rajasthan Assembly Elections, he lost to his opponent Kalyan Singh Chouhan by a count of 62,216 to 62,215.

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He was one of the Chief Ministerial candidates. The senior leader had a great chance of becoming the Chief Minister of the state if he had won the elections. Not only did he lose by just one vote but surprisingly, it was his own mother, wife, and the driver who reportedly didn’t turn up to vote on the polling day.

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3. A. R. Krishnamurthy

Krishnamurthy, contesting on JDS ticket polled 40751 against Dhruvanarayan’s 40752 votes.

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It seems Joshi is not the only person to lose an assembly election in India by just one vote. During the 2004 Karnataka assembly elections, Krishnamurthy became the first person to lose elections in Karnataka by one vote. Ironically, his driver could not cast his vote as he was not given the permission by Krishnamurthy to take time off to go and cast his vote.

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4. Andrew Johnson

He was not convicted because the Senate was one vote shy of the two-thirds necessary.

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Johnson was the 17th president of America and the first president who survived his impeachment. The  House’s primary charge against Johnson was the violation of the Tenure of Office Act. Luckily, it was that one vote that actually saved him from getting impeached.

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5. Conservative Henry Duke

He maintained his seat in the House of Commons table by getting 4777 to his opponent’s 4776.

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In the long history of Britain, it remains the only significant election which had such a low margin of victory. Initially, it was St. Maur who had won by four-vote. But later this result was challenged and when the final results were declared Henry Duke had defeated his opponent by a single vote.

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6. Rutherford B. Hayes

1876, it was one vote that ultimately made him the 19th president of the United States.

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The 1876 presidential elections were fought between Hayes and Tilden. Tilden had comfortably won the popular vote, by a healthy margin of 250,000. The tables turned when the electoral votes were counted. Hayes managed to receive 185 electoral votes, while Tilden could only manage 184.

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7. Zanzibar’s general election of 1961.

The winning Afro- Shirazi Party had won the district of Chake-Chake by just one vote. This victory helped them to win 10 seats compared to their opponent’s 9.

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It is considered one of the most closely fought elections of all time.

This election is special because here one vote did not just help the party win one seat but it also helped to form the majority. Later when re-elections were held both parties were tied on 10 seats.


8. Randall Luthi and Larry Call

In 1994, both, Republican Randall Luthi, and Independent Larry Call finished with 1,941 votes. Later, a ping pong ball was drawn out of cowboy hat to determine the winner.

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The 1994 elections for the Wyoming’s House of Representatives seat was perhaps one of the most memorable electoral battles of recent times. In this election, both Luthi and his opponent received the same number of votes. This led the then Governor Mike Sullivan to settle the matter in way quite unheard way.

Well, Luthi made most of his luck and later went on to become the speaker of the House.


9. Democrat Charles B.Smith

During the 1910 elections for New York’s congressional district, Smith polled 20,685 votes while his opponent received 20,684 votes. The one vote margin made him the winner.

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It remains only one’s electoral fate in America’s history that had been decided by a single vote. Although later the votes were again recounted and Smith’s winning margin increased slightly.

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So next time somebody gives you this excuse just tells them about these people. It might just change their mind.

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