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Murphy: Yes, every vote counts
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Murphy: Yes, every vote counts

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Erin Murphy

Erin Murphy

Never believe anyone who says your vote does not count.

In any election, “My vote doesn’t count” is something of a silly thing to say. Every vote is literally counted. It’s like if you made a free throw during a basketball game, then complained that your point didn’t count. Of course it did. They added it to your team’s score, didn’t they?

Anyway, if you still need convincing that every vote truly counts, brothers and sisters, have we got a story for you.

Eastern Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District election — which is still unresolved, nearly a month after Election Day — may well be decided by single digits. In a race in which nearly 400,000 votes were cast, the candidates may be separated by just seven.

Seven!

That is a margin of .009 percentage points. Not one percentage point. Not one tenth. Not even one hundredth. Nine thousandths of a percentage point. It takes a calculator to determine and a microscope to see the margin between the candidates.

As of Friday morning, with the recount procedure still unfinished, Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks led Democrat Rita Hart by 34 votes, according to unofficial results from the state elections office. The Quad-City Times has reported the ongoing recount in Scott and other counties very well may reduce that margin to single digits.

Scott County’s elections official believes the election is likely headed for a court challenge.

Still not a believer? Think about some of the other votes cast — and not cast — in the 2nd District election.

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More than 700 write-in votes were cast in the race. If just a tiny fraction of those had voted for one of the candidates instead, it very well could have changed the outcome.

And some Democrats are not altogether thrilled with what is apparently thousands of voters who checked the box for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden but left the 2nd District race blank. Across the district, Biden earned more than 3,000 more votes than Hart. If just the tiniest percentage of those Biden voters had also cast a vote for Hart, this race would look dramatically different.

So yes, folks, every vote counts.

Don’t let anyone else ever tell you otherwise. And if they do, tell them about eastern Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District election of 2020.

MASK MANDATE MAKES IMPACT

It’s just one personal anecdote, but a pre-Thanksgiving trip to the grocery store sure suggested that face mask mandates appear to be effective after all.

I won’t name the grocer, but I made a quick stop Wednesday at a store that previously had declined to require face masks for all customers. And without that requirement, mask wearing in the store had been sporadic.

With recent updates to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ public health orders, the store is now requiring face masks. The store was extremely busy Wednesday, and literally every face I saw had a mask.

And it wasn’t because there were police officers or even store employees walking around, threatening to handcuff anyone not wearing a mask. People were wearing masks simply because they were required to.

Perhaps mask mandates are indeed effective. Given what we know about the effectiveness of wearing face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic, for the health of everyone in our state, let’s hope so.

Erin Murphy covers Iowa politics and government for Lee Enterprises. His email address is erin.murphy@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter at @ErinDMurphy.

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