In the fall of 2020, the upcoming presidential election weighed on my thoughts, as it did for many Americans. Well before any votes were cast, groundwork was already being laid for questioning the results—but only if a certain person didn’t win. And people were eating it up.
I was amazed at both the audacity and gullibility of so many people, which made me think about where these ideas might go in the future. What if elections were already determined and voting was an afterthought?
And that’s how, in one weekend, I wrote the first draft of The Rite to Vote. It was a bit longer at first, but when I learned of the Roswell Award science fiction contest, I thought the story would fit the solicitation, particularly the “and have fun with what you write” part. So, with several revisions for clarity and general writing improvements, I submitted my story.
In April of 2021, I started wondering what had happened with my submission. There wasn’t much information on a timeline for the contest, and I daydreamed about the scenario “wouldn’t it be funny if…”
Two weeks later, I received the email that my daydream had become a reality—my story was selected as a Finalist! I was floored because, as I learned about the sheer breadth of submissions (500+ from South Africa to Russia to England to many other countries), there was some stiff competition. In addition to the six finalists, nine honorable mentions were highlighted.
With a virtual awards ceremony set for May 22, I started receiving more emails about the contest and upcoming steps. I learned that sci-fi celebrities would be reading each of the stories during the virtual event, and the list of actors was released.
As social marketing for the virtual ceremony has picked up, I found myself mentioned in the same tweets as Nana Visitor and David Blue--stars I've watched on my favorite shows! Surreal.
And in addition to celebrities providing a dramatic reading of each story, the panel of judges for the final awards was just as impressive.
During the virtual awards ceremony, each finalist story was read by a sci-fi celebrity. David Blue, of Stargate: Universe fame, was a perfect fit for "The Rite to Vote" and brought life to the voices of new voter Kendra, the disinterested cop, and the insufferable voting machine. Definitely a highlight of my brief writing career.
I am both humbled and honored that my snarky story about election indifference made it this far, and though it did not garner any prizes, I am already looking forward to next year's submission.