November 4, 2012

Every survey indicates that the presidential race and the Virginia Senate race will be very close on Tuesday. In fact, Virginia could decide which presidential candidate captures the electoral college.

Think your vote doesn’t matter?

Just ask Sen. Jim Webb (D), who beat George Allen (R) by only 9,329 votes in their 2006 Senate race, or fewer than four votes per precinct statewide.

Just ask state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D), who lost his 2005 race for state attorney general to Robert F. McDonnell (R) by only 323 votes. (Mr. McDonnell, of course, went on to run against Mr. Deeds for governor in 2009 and win.)

Just ask Janet Oleszek (D), who lost her 2007 race to represent the 37th State Senate District to Ken Cuccinelli II (R) by only 92 votes, enabling Mr. Cuccinelli to successfully run for state attorney general two years later.

And just ask Del. Jim Scott (D), who has represented the 53rd District in the House of Delegates since 1991, when he won by a single vote.

Don’t be the person who decides the course of the next four years by staying home on Election Day.

Sara Fitzgerald, Falls Church

This election year, I decided to take a scientific approach to choosing how to cast my votes. For the past three months, I have been setting aside all the letters and large postcards that have been mailed to me by candidates for office. Last week, I brought them all out and went through them. To my chagrin, none said anything about voting for the candidate whose supporters did the mailing. But all of them told me whom not to vote for.

I made a list of candidates and crossed through the names of all those whom the mailings said I should not vote for. To my dismay, when I was done, all the names had been crossed off. What to do?

I decided that on Election Day, I would write in my own name for president and my wife’s name for vice president, and the names of family, friends and neighbors going on down the ballot.

Al Brogdon, Fitzwilliam, N.H.