March 30, 2006

The Emperor Has No Votes

Inspired by this
Once upon a time, things were peaceful at Castle Dale. Every few years, just before Election Day, the people would gather in Ward houses to find out whom they should vote for. And every year, Bishops across the land would gently remind the faithful that there wasn’t really a CHOICE to make, just a correct answer to indicate. And the people were happy, confident that their votes would be counted equally when sending off their representatives with super-majorities.
Then one day a swindler arrived from the far off land of Diebold, promising that their magical machines could offer the most magnificent elections ever seen. Not only were there no messy ballots to keep track of, but the machines had the added virtue of keeping their votes invisible to anyone stupid or faithless enough to doubt them. “What a splendid idea, and what a useful device” the emperors’ thought. “If we had such a machine, we could know at once which of our people is too faithless or independent for his post. Not wanting to appear quaint, and ever mindful of the need to appear progressive, the emperors gave the men from Diebold 27 million gold coins, and they promptly returned with their magical new machines.
Over the months, one elections official after another began to look at the new machines. They didn’t know how the machines worked, and even when they tried to look closely, they still couldn’t see the votes. But no one wanted to appear stupid or faithless, so they all said “these machines truly are magnificent!” Until one day, a simple and honest official named Bruce went to work to prepare for the upcoming elections. Bruce had been doing his job for most of his life, and he loved sorting out a contested primary, so he thought it strange that his shiny new machine seemed to have an old memory. Bruce was confused, but he didn’t want to appear faithless, so he quietly summoned patriots from a distant land that could help him understand his machine.
News of the patriots’ arrival spread quickly, and the men from Diebold swooped back to Castle Dale. They reminded the emperors that only those with the digital Urim and Thummim could look at the machines without sin. So they were whisked away for exorcism, and Bruce was made to stand day and night before the inquisition until he resigned his post.
Eventually Bruce returned to his job, his skepticism washed clean with home teaching, and Castle Dale returned to normal. At last, (primary) Election Day arrived. The people finally got to see the new machines, and even push their shiny buttons. The polls closed, and the men from Diabold came to peek into the magical boxes. People gasped when it was announce that LaDell Smith had defeated LaVron Smith, even though LaDell jr. had returned home early from his mission. A few people even started to wonder if their votes had really counted, but Bruce’s kids were still having a hard time in seminary, so the skeptics kept their concerns to themselves.
Once upon a time, things were peaceful at Castle Dale. The people were happy, and they still are, fairly confident that their emperors magical machines from Diebold will count some of the votes when sending off their ‘representatives’ with super majorities.

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