Hello, I’m Your Election: Speculative Fiction by Genevieve Valentine

Mozilla invited science fiction and fantasy author Genevieve Valentine to describe elections in the future, given advances in technology we see every day. Hello, I’m Your Election premiered as an audio piece on Mozilla’s IRL podcast. The full fiction text is below.

Hello, I’m Your Election

Hello. Welcome to Election 2040. I’m Betsy Ross, your Ballot Assistant. Thank you for coming out to vote. Let’s get started! Please transmit your citizen ID number.

JeffJacobs19800514

Welcome, JeffJacobs! Thank you for being a citizen. Confirming facial recognition. Please look into the camera and repeat: “For purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain.”

For purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain

Okay, got it! Thank you. Please indicate your political party.

Old Faithful

Great, thank you! Before we get started voting, a few questions to verify your identity. Please list your city of residence.

Madison, Wisconsin

Okay, thank you! Did you file taxes for calendar year 2039?

Yes

Great! Let’s check some receipts to verify your activity.

Did you make a purchase from BLUEBIRD CAFE ROCKFORD ILLINOIS on AUGUST 15, 2039?

Uh

Sorry, I didn’t catch that. Please repeat. You can say “Yes,” “No,” or “I don’t know.”

I don’t know

All right, let’s look closer. Did you purchase EGG SANDWICH CHEESE MAYO and COFFEE MILK SUGAR DECAF from BLUEBIRD CAFE ROCKFORD ILLINOIS on AUGUST 15, 2039?

I guess?

I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that. Here is a photo of the BLUEBIRD CAFE in ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS Does this look familiar?

Sure

Okay, great. Thank you! Did you attend any demonstrations of dissent against the current administration in 2039?

No

Thank you, patriot! Did you attend any demonstrations of dissent against a third or miscellaneous party?

Yes

Details please?

Protest against Coffee-Coffee Cafe

What date?

Uh. Late July? Whenever they started covering gay insurance.

I’ve found a protest that took place in MADISON WISCONSIN on JULY 29, 2039 with a facial recognition match to your citizen ID number. Is this your protest?

Yeah

Okay, great, thank you! Did you attend any demonstration of support for the current administration?

Yes

Details please?

“A Decade of Progress” pre-election rally

I’ve found one “A DECADE OF PROGRESS” PUBLIC RALLY in ROCKFORD ILLINOIS on OCTOBER 6, 2040 with a facial recognition match to your citizen ID number. Is this your rally?

Yes

Okay, great, thank you! Please hold while I cross-check this information for you, and then we’ll get you set to vote. This might take a few moments.

Why would it take so long? I voted in the last election.

Please hold. Your vote is important to us.

It usually doesn’t take this long.

Hi! I have your results. Treasonous activity detected.

What?

Booth has been locked. Arrest beacon activated. Please remain calm.

Wait, what? No! I didn’t do anything! What are you talking about?

Undisclosed travel across state lines for purchase of goods on AUGUST 15, 2039: Smuggling. Class E felony.

Unauthorized boycott of COFFEE-COFFEE CAFE, a Forbes 500 corporation: Larceny. Class A misdemeanor.

Unauthorized travel across state lines on OCTOBER 6, 2040 for political purposes: Sedition. Class C felony.

But I went there for the president! I got an email about the rally!

Criminal activity lifetime limit exceeded. Citizenship revoked.

What the fu–! You can’t do that! I want to – manager! Manager! Speak to a manager! Supervisor!

I’m sorry. Managerial assistance is not available to non-citizens.

No! I have the number! Let me speak to a manger! I’m a citizen!

Citizenship not found.

But I just need to speak to a supervisor! Somebody!

Arrest beacon activated. Remove and detain. Remove and detain. Remove and –

Confirmed pickup, voice ID Delta Charlie Foxtrot seventeen.

Thank you Delta Charlie Foxtrot seventeen. Arrest confirmed. Thank you for removing and detaining a traitor. America depends on you!

Voter record deleted.

Next voter, please.

Hello. Welcome to Election 2040. I’m Betsy Ross, your Ballot Assistant. Thank you for coming out to vote. Let’s get started!


What to Expect When You’re Electing

How close is Genevieve Valentine’s speculative fiction to the truth?

Election interference has been happening for centuries, but the misinformation spread online adds a new level of meddling opportunity. In the Season 3 finale Mozilla’s IRL podcast, Veronica Belmont and Baratunde Thurston explore how social media campaigns, online propaganda, and data mining are all racing to impact the way we vote. Have a listen:

One comment on “Hello, I’m Your Election: Speculative Fiction by Genevieve Valentine”

  1. C. Hendricks wrote on

    Nicely done. A bit over the top, more parody than speculation, but close enough to an old “Twilight Zone” episode to be alarming. Well, ‘eternal vigilance is the price for liberty’ to misquote an old dead guy. I hope many read/listen to this. As the Boy Scouts say, “Be Prepared”.