With all the hype around the American elections and Brexit, I’m reminded of a vote which took place in our neighbourhood in the early 1960’s.
My parents used to help out at the polling station which was set up in the Scout Hall in Wychwood, Germiston, together with their friends and neighbours, Arthur and Megan Otty, who, like my parents, were supporters of the United Party.
At this particular local election, it fell to Arthur to fetch voters who did not have their own transport. Arthur drove up and down all day ferrying voters to and from the polling station. By just after 4.30 p.m. he thought he was done for the day when he realised he had forgotten to fetch Mrs Beech. But, as it was less than half an hour before the polls were due to close, he also realised that it was not likely that he would be able to get her there in time to vote. Arthur was tempted not to make the effort but, after a bit of coaxing, he decided that he would give it a try, so off he went.
He did his best and in this case, it was good enough! Arthur arrived back a couple of minutes before the polls closed with Mrs Beech in tow, who was a bit grumpy at having been forgotten. She told anyone who would listen that she had waited the whole day to be fetched. Fortunately, she managed to cast her vote just before cut off time. Arthur took her home again wondering if he should have bothered after getting an earful from her.
Then the counting began.
The two parties were neck and neck and this went on until all the votes were counted. It was cheers all round when the United Party beat the Nationalist Party by just one vote!
From then on, Arthur frequently told the story of how he single-handedly won the local election for the United Party.