In the year ████, an ancient Greek bone sorcerer and warlord named Democritus made a discovery that would change the course of history. The Greeks had long known of what they called eúkhomos — what the Romans later named the vōtus, and what we know today as the vote — through the secret knowledge of the Codex Salamandrium, but had never in centuries been able to access. But Democritus, in the course of his blood-soaked experiments, chanced upon a rite that could separate the eúkhomos from the human soul. Fueled by the votes of his terrified subjects, Democritus began a bloody campaign of conquest and slaughter that only ended when the First Bonewraith Rampage brought Greece to ruins.
Democritus’ secret rite seemed lost to the ages. But everything changed in the War of ████.
The ailing witch-queen Circe of Byzantium, in a hopeless struggle against the Pharaoh’s forces and rapidly losing the respect of her subjects, faced a challenge from within. The Headless Hag of the Mystic Marsh demanded to duel Circe for her title. The queen had resigned herself to defeat, but a small circle of her most devoted followers had other plans.
Led by the Roman-born occultist Gaius Marcus Corvinus, this coalition began delving into the long-forsaken ruins of Democritus’ Tower of Terror. While many succumbed to Contamination, Corvinus and six others emerged with Democritus’ fabled codex, and learned the secrets of the ancient warlord’s terrible ritual.
Resolved to save their queen, the seven conspirators made the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives to empower Circe with their votes. Circe, as any third-grade student could tell you, easily vanquished the Headless Hag, and went on to subjugate much of Egypt. Thus began the practice of voting, and for the first time in history, the common folk began to have some say in who ruled whom.
As animalogical science advanced, two key breakthroughs were made. In 1448, the first nonlethal vote extraction procedure was performed by a team of seven arch-sorcerers, although the voter was left permanently traumatized and died several years later of wolves. But by studying living voters, it was discovered that the human soul can fully regrow its vote after an average of four years, opening the way for sustainable democracy.
By the seventeenth century, it was possible to vote without permanently damaging the soul, which led to major political upheavals including the French Revolution and the brief but gruesome conquest of England by Locust-King Cromwell. Reeling from this period of violence, many European societies formalized the process of voting. In some cases, voting became purely symbolic, and rulers were chosen without any vote extraction at all.
This practice enraged some religious communities. In Britain, the adoption of symbolic voting proved the last straw for the Puritans, who set sail for the New World, determined to build a new nation where the ancient traditions of blood and shadow were properly honored. Brutally harvesting the votes of Native Americans, the Puritans and their descendants spread across what is now the eastern United States.
Voting did not become a major part of American life until after the Revolutionary War of 1776, when George Washington, his forces crumbling beneath the onslaught of the British navy, signed the Pact of the Old Forest, which laid the foundation for the Constitution. As originally provided, votes would be extracted from American citizens and given to whomever their state legislature chose to support.
This system proved unstable. Rarely was the loser of the presidential election content with their consolation prize, and many chose to put their votes to use violently opposing the elected president. After the famous duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton destroyed most of Washington, D.C. and detonated dozens of long-buried skeleton boxes, support began to grow for a “winner-takes-all” system: a hybrid between the European and American models.
As we head to the polls this week, whether of our own free will or brutally compelled by election officials, let us remember the long history of American democracy. As we are strapped down, screaming, into the vote extraction machines, let us remember the high price in blood we paid for peaceful transitions of power in the country. And as we stumble home, shaking, emaciated, and unable to speak for upwards of two weeks, let us take pride in our participation in American project. Whoever you choose to honor with your vote, do so with pride, and know that — in a very real sense — part of you now serves to uphold American liberty, justice, and democracy.
Rebecca Rosenwolf is Approved News 6’s election correspondent. A veteran of political reporting, Rosenwolf has held positions at many networks, often simultaneously, and frequently competing with herself for the 8:00pm EST timeslot. She is the author of several banned books, and lives in Los Angeles with her wife Jess and four ferociously loyal panthers.