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Published: Friday, 10/1/2004

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If you've ever wondered whether a single vote counts, the National

Association of REALTORS (NAR) asks you to consider these historical

events:

Rutherford Hayes was elected president in 1876 by one electoral vote.

The purchase of Alaska from Russia was ratified in 1867 by just one vote.

Texas was annexed to the Union in 1845 by one vote.

President Polk's request to declare war on Mexico in 1846 passed by just one vote. That war resulted in U.S. acquisition of Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, California and part of Colorado.

If one vote makes such a big difference, why do some people opt not to vote? According to the Toledo Board of REALTORS, surveys show that most non-voters say they don't care or don't feel their vote matters.

Housing will be a key voting issue in the upcoming election. In fact, NAR research indicates that despite all of the other concerns America faces, affordable housing ranks as voters' third greatest concern, just behind health care and the economy.

Don't miss this opportunity to exercise your privilege, your right and your obligation to vote.

In the last presidential election in 2000, less than 55 percent of all 193,199,543 eligible voters turned out to vote. And the bitterly contested results of that election led to fierce debate and, ultimately, a recount that delayed the official outcome for weeks.

The 2004 election promises to be another nail-biter. As the campaign heats up, the country is deeply divided. Current polls suggest popular support is almost evenly split between the Democrats and the Republicans. Add third party candidates, such as Ralph Nader, into the mix, and this year's presidential race could be very close--again.

With the U.S. grappling with an ailing economy, job losses, war and homeland security issues, the national election on November 2 is critical for our country at all levels of government--local, state and federal. Not only will voters elect a president, but also a new Congress, with all 435 seats of the House of Representatives and about one-third of the Senate's 100 seats up for election.

And, of course, numerous state and local officials, as well as issues from growth management to school issues, will be decided at your local polling place.

Need any more reasons to speak up in November? Anyone who cares about the American dream of homeownership has plenty.

NAR is also taking the congressional elections seriously. The REALTORS Political Action Committee will once again be the nation's largest federal PAC in terms of contributions to congressional candidates this election cycle. Likewise, NAR will invest millions of additional dollars to help pro-real estate candidates running for the U.S. House and Senate through its grassroots and advocacy campaigns.

The 2004 elections may well decide the future of the real estate industry for many years to come. Citizens should ask themselves which candidates at the national, state and local levels best represent their views on homeownership, the economy, taxes, growth, privacy, technology and the environment.

Don't miss this opportunity to exercise your privilege, your right and your obligation to vote.

NAR, the nation's "Voice for Real Estate," knows the tremendous power of speaking out to government on issues of concern. NAR is ever-present on Capitol Hill, appealing to lawmakers on behalf of America's homeowners on such issues as affordable housing, community revitalization, growth planning and the environment, residential real estate finance, taxation and the involvement of banks in the real estate business.

We know, for example, that consumers are clearly worried about how banks would use the financial and personal data gleaned during a real-estate transaction. Nearly 90 percent say privacy would be violated if large banks act as real-estate agents, and four in five don t believe it's a good idea for banks to act as brokers.

Lawmakers in Washington must hear from voters on issues such as this.

So, think about the potential power of your vote. Be sure you are registered to vote by the October 4 deadline in Ohio. Contact your local election bureau or check online for voting registration sites. And be sure to vote on November 2. It's so easy to do, it may not seem like much, but it matters. One vote--your vote--counts.

The Toledo Board of REALTORS is one of more than 1,600 local boards and associations of REALTORS nationwide that comprise the National Association of REALTORS. As the nation's largest trade association, NAR is "The Voice for Real Estate," representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the real estate industry.



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