Vote Night

The Election Officer addressed the assembly. “Here are the results for all candidates standing for Mayor of Lucerne.” Excited murmuring ran throughout the Great Hall. To people passing, the Transparent Temple seemed like an aquarium with larvae wriggling within, one of whom would gobble up all others and become the Big Fish.

The Election Officer continued, “I shall announce them in alphabetical order by surname, with their stated affiliations.” The room hushed.

“Samir Bungawalla, Ethnic People’s Alliance: 200 votes.” People whispered that the Doctor’s son should really have done much better than this; the party founded by his father was on the wane.

“Davy Choo, Sustainable Fuels Forum: 50 votes.” Davy was a popular guy, but everyone knew that he was simply a front man for failing logging companies.

“Pinky Dada, Ethnic People’s Gay Alliance: 150 votes.” People congratulated Pinky, who blew kisses to everyone. Her breakaway group had done quite well.

“Simonique Jahanara, Ethnic People’s Gay Disabled Alliance: 120 votes.” People said that Simonique shouldn’t have stood, for she had split the ethnic and gay votes. Her response to this was, “Kick a queer black girl in a wheelchair, sugar, why don’t you?”

“Breda Mopa, Ethnic People’s Gay Disabled Autistic Alliance: 60 votes.” There was a time when the EPA was a rising star in local multi-cultural politics – but it had split into ineffective shards that continued to break further.

“Simon Palmer, Lucerne Valley First: 499 votes.” There was a general cheer. The current mayor had done very well, as hoped for and expected. It was almost a given that he would make his second term.

“Gracious Trabant-Berliner, Equestrian Horizons: 110 votes.” There was a time when horsey people were very popular, but people had, frankly, just got bored with their endless whinnying.

Di@ne W@tkins, Future Focus: 499 votes.” People gasped around the room. Di@ne W@tkins had a clear space around her, in which she stood surprised. Lucerne’s first-ever robot candidate had done very well and matched the incumbent!

The Election Officer asked for quiet; she had yet to finish announcing the results. “Toni Wicca, Ethnic People’s Gay Disabled Autistic Psychic Alliance: 12 votes.” This was clearly one split too far.

“And finally, Bongo Zephaniah, Ganga Potty Party: 160 votes.” A respectable showing from someone who had been treated by the press as a clown. Pot was no laughing matter in BC. Well it was – when smoking it in your yard with friends – but not in municipal elections.

“So there is a tie between Simon Palmer and Di@ne W@tkins. I will consult with my colleagues and shortly make further comment.”

A din of voices, like spring insects buzzing, rose around the Great Hall. There were jovial conversations and hidden whispers. The hottest topic was the robot candidate, Di@ne W@tkins. She was a petite woman with long dark hair, who had lived in the Village quietly for five years. Last year she’d announced that she no longer wished to live as a closet-robot; she publically declared that she had undergone the HST – Homo Sapiens Technology – Program, and was proud to represent this new branch of humanity.

Local people were shocked. There was a robot living right amongst them, undetected for years! They felt for some reason that robots existed only in the City – near factories, technicians, and charging stations. How could they exist out here? Their information however was out of date. Yes people over 50% android must exist near technical facilities, but the 50% boundary was rarely approached.

Most robots were under 20% android. Some were just cosmetic conversions, but most were medical enhancements of various degrees – a nose enlargement to assist breathing; a new heart for one that was failing; new lungs for those about to collapse; a new penis for erectile dysfunction; new legs for paraplegics; a new voice box for those with throat cancer. Robotics was the marvel of the age.

Having electrodes, polymers, and metals in bodies, however, frightened people who didn’t have them. “Are these people less human than we are?” they wondered. In truth many of these people were more human – because they had suffered and faced their mortality. Their alien structures made them whole, and they were compassionate to others who seemed weak or afraid. Test cases had challenged their legal status, but the Supreme Court had declared them equal and deserving of all rights, though the question of robots with extra powers was yet to be resolved.

The crowd hushed as the Election Officer returned. She said, “As you know, the most accurate and efficient form of assessing the electorates’ wishes is electronic voting. However, mistakes are occasionally made. Under advice from Legal Counsel, we will have a recount for the two leading candidates. This simply involves myself pressing a button, and the computer re-running the vote counting program. I will do this right now.” She pushed a button and the Great Hall remained hushed. Then she announced the recounted results. “Simon Palmer: 498 votes. Di@ne W@tkins: 500 votes.”

Most people cheered, as Di@ne was popular in Lucerne. She was hoisted onto shoulders amid flashing cameras. However others in the room stared at the petite, dark-haired robot suspiciously, thinking, “How did she do that?” and, “Is she connected to that computer?” and “Is this the first step towards Overmind?”


One Response to “Vote Night”

  1. Still on commas and apostrophes:
    “polymers, and metals in bodies” – the comma implies there are no polymers in bodies (it creates a separation between ‘polymers’ and ‘metals’).
    electorates’ – “electorate” is singular, although collective, so ‘s
    “publically” – interesting that you had no spelling error indication – I just did!

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