What happens when one vote becomes two?
My favourite film of all time (sharing first place with Kubrick's 2001) is 12 Angry Men. It's a film about voting, and today as the election shifts into the beginning (of the beginning) of the end, I can't help but think about it.
12 men, one jury room, a boy may die. There is far too much I love about this film to properly go into here, it's a perfect storm of writing that covers prejudice, racism, ignorance, peer-pressure, idealism, liberalism, conservatism, morality, democracy and hope....but it's also a telling analysis on the power of the single vote. And I'm not talking about the first vote for "Not Guilty" cast by Juror No. 8, the dashing and angelic Henry Fonda. No, the real power was the vote that followed the first, that SECOND vote, from Joseph Sweeney's Juror No. 9, the quiet, insignificant old man who backs up the lone dissenter and turns one man's pitiful struggle into a movement.
This is of course a microcosm, but it illustrates that sometimes all you have to do is convince one person to start a landslide.
Having spent a lot of time in America, and as a political cartoonist whose first newspaper gig was in 2008 at the height of Obama's historic Presidential bid, I find myself strongly invested in this year's race. And in this race, this titanic struggle to prevent an election from turning into a hung jury, it comes down to the wire, and to the votes of a few, to decide the fate of the many.
And that is where Double Your Vote comes in!
The Double Your Vote campaign encourages voters to bring their non-committed, complacent, or undecided friends -- and perfect strangers -- to drive / walk / run to the voting booth with them. In tight elections every vote counts, and through this campaign individuals will have the ability to directly impact voter turnout.
This simple incremental act of inspiring just one other person to vote can be game-changing -- doubling the number of votes that are cast.
This campaign was the created by a group of committed friends and colleagues (including yours truly) with a genuine concern about voter apathy in an election where so much is at stake. Pooling together our expertise and skills, we hope to encourage more first-time and unlikely voters to go to the polls--especially in swing states and states with closely contested elections. We are not part of a PAC or any other political organization and are not funded. Instead we're just contributing time for a few days to what we feel is a worthwhile endeavor.
My contribution: As many pro-bono political cartoons as I could muster up in the last 48 hours. Cartoons depicting the future of America under Mitt Romney's administration. A laughing matter, and yet simultaneously, not a laughing matter at all.
Because ultimately, there is a clear choice for all who vote this year. Do you want to back the President halfway through the job of cleaning up the mess of the 8 years that came before, or turn to an altogether different type of President?
A President, who might for instance....
1) Open the door for legislation that could jeopardize the hard-fought for rights of women.....
2) Drill everywhere he can get his hands on whilst turning his back on the serious environmental issues of our time....
3) Treat foreign policy like a game of chicken, whilst committing gaffes that make even the UK Prime Minister look like a Boss by comparison....
4) Turn college education into yet another way to separate the wealthy elite from, well...everybody else....
5) Change his position so many times you can't trust any of them...
6) Or represent a party that encourages the systematic confusing, bullying, and misleading of vulnerable voters simply because they threaten to vote for the other guy.
A tough choice.
Can the Double Your Vote campaign make a difference? Remember, in 1960, John F. Kennedy beat Richard Nixon by just 0.1% of the votes. Not that old? Then you only need to think back to Florida 2000, where the fate of the country came down to a few hundred votes in Broward County.
Doubling down and getting that potentially lost vote can be the single most impactful action a person can take to ensure that America keeps on moving forward.
Direct steps you can take TODAY include pledging to enlist a new voter, liking the campaign on Facebook, following us on Twitter @DoubleYourVote and #DYV, and sending out email blasts to friends.
Now, of course everybody's vote is their OWN, and this isn't about cartoons. No...the battle for this election is fought by those who act, by people, by voters.
And as voters, you have the power not just to ensure that your voice is heard, but that the voices of others can be heard too. You can encourage those who might otherwise stay home, who might not find their way, who are just barely on the fence, to join with you and double your strength.
And like Juror No.9, you can turn one vote into two.
And that could make ALL the difference.