Today in History: Randolph, NY, Man Wins Election With a Single Vote
by M.C. Millman
On election day, 20-year-old Weaver cast his name on a vote for town justice and won by that single vote.
Weaver was inspired by former presidential candidate Ross Perot, who said that people have to take back the government.
"It was Perot's take-back-your-government idea," said Weaver. "Perot was saying, 'Why sit back and complain when you could actually do something?' When the opportunity presented itself, I took it. I elected myself."
Perot came in third, with over 19 million votes, and Weaver came in first with a single vote.
At only 20 years old, Weaver did not have a college degree, yet that didn't matter. The only requirements for town justice were to be at least 18 and live in the town.
According to AP News, "He wasn't nominated, he didn't campaign, but neither did anyone else, so Justin Weaver wrote in his name for town judge when he went to the ballot booth."
The town of Randolph had voted in 1992 to get rid of one of the two town justice positions after one of them died. The town board voted to have a single judge at the end of 1993, yet by law, they were required to hold an election for the remaining year of the dead judge's term. The position was blank on the November 3 ballot, as no one wanted to run for a single-year term.
Town officials were unhappy that they had to pay Weaver as town justice.
According to The Associated Press, the town board had already doubled the salary of the remaining judge to $8,650. Weaver requested the same salary, but the town only agreed to pay him $30 per week once he started hearing cases.
According to The Associated Press, the town also had to pay for six days of judicial training for Weaver as required by New York's court system.
″It's kind of a fluky thing,″ said Linda Milks, Cattaraugus County elections commissioner. ″It shows that one vote does count.″