As if we didn’t learn the lesson well enough in Florida during the Presidential election of 2000, the first quarter of 2007 should provide absolute proof that one vote really matters. After the Montana Senate voted 27-21 to repeal the death penalty in that state, the bill died in a House committee by a vote of 9-8. Similarly, after a repeal bill passed in the New Mexico House, the bill died in a Senate committee by a single vote. In Maryland last week, a repeal bill supported by Governor Martin O’Malley failed to win passage in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on a 5-5 vote, and yesterday, March 20, 2007, a repeal bill failed in the Nebraska legislature by a vote of 25-24.
While we lost each of those votes that would have advanced the demise of the death penalty, not only in those states but in the country, we now know how close we are to achieving a monumental goal—just one vote in each forum would have made a huge difference. We have the energy, the arguments, the stories, the logic and the emotion to achieve victory in each of these states, and many more. We are amazingly close to delivering the knockout blow to the death penalty in the U.S. So long as we do not take for granted a single vote, we will win this struggle against capital punishment soon.