I have read in places where live the wise and the thoughtful a variety of opinions about the efficacy and necessity of voting, and I have always questioned the wisdom of those who hold that one vote, my vote, or any single vote, really doesn't matter or make a difference to the outcome of an election. I must confess that mathematically such a proposition is really indisputable. In an election involving millions, my single vote will not decide the election.
However, in a spiritual and a societal sense, this form of thinking seems nearly suicidal. The action of voting, of placing that mathematically meaningless vote, if done in accord with a conscience informed by the teaching of the Holy Catholic Church has spiritual repercussions that cannot possibly be calculated. It is true of any action taken in accord with God's will, and it remains true in the exercise of the franchise.
from Render Unto Caesar
Archbishop Charles Chaput
In one of their early confrontations, King Henry VIII taunted Bishop John Fisher, the great bishop-martyr of the English Reformation who remained faithful to Rome and opposed Henry's marriage to Anne Bolyen, with this remark: "Well, well, it shall make no matter. . . for you are but one man." Catholics face the world's same taunting today: the temptation to think that society is too far gone, that our problems are too complex for any of us to make a difference. But one person can always make a difference--if that person believe in Jesus Christ and seeks to do his will. We're not called to get results. We're called to be faithful.
Next time we are tempted to think that our vote doesn't matter or doesn't make a difference or doesn't effect the outcome--it would be good to remind ourselves that a vote carelessly made is a grain of sand dropped into a pond, but a vote made after prayer, communion with God, and in accord with a well-formed conscience is like dropping a boulder into a pool. We may not get our candidate elected, but we will have made a difference and we can continue to agitate and act, become the thorn in the side for those who rode to election on the careless votes of others. We become then, for the world, the constant "agenbite of inwit," an irreconcilable and relentless reminder of the duty of our officials to serve the common good even if they will not willingly serve God.