Art by Nicole Wilkes Goldberg
Art by Nicole Wilkes Goldberg

A Vote That Matters

by James Goldberg

Every community has beliefs which, though ridiculous from a strictly rational perspective, still play an important role in the community’s ability to function. Take, for example, the American emphasis on voting in a Presidential Election. From a mathematical perspective, the odds that any one vote will change the outcome are astronomically small (in most states in most years, whole cities’ votes could be misplaced without effect).

But voting for a President in any country isn’t actually about choosing the President. It’s about expressing your belief in Democracy, your faith in the doctrine that true authority comes from the consent of the governed. It’s about stepping up and playing a role in a story you’ve shared with your fellow citizens for months or years: you vote to put yourself in the crowd of community members who are ritually featured at the climax of a recurring national epic of competing values.

We vote less to influence an outcome than to witness that we belong in a certain story.

Over the past two weeks, we have shared the twelve finalists in the “Four Centuries of Mormon Stories” contest, and from now until November 6th, we are asking readers to cast votes for their favorites to determine who will win the $400 Grand Prize. In this election, of course, a single vote might well make a difference. But voting in this contest is really about stepping up and showing you’re a part of this story: that you care about Mormon writing, that you believe in the power of stories that explore where we’ve been and where we’re headed.

To cast your vote:

1) Read at least six of the twelve finalists and rank your top four.

2) Email your ranked list of four to with VOTE in the subject line.

Again, in order to be valid, votes must:

1) Be sent to by the end of 6 November with VOTE in the subject line.

2) Include four pieces ranked from 1st favorite through 4th favorite. (Be sure to list votes by story title, as some authors have two stories.)

Feel free to include any other feedback you have on the “Four Centuries of Mormon Stories” contest in the body of the email below your ranked vote list.

Please share these voting instructions with friends–give them a chance to be part of this contest’s story!