I-330’s mixed signals and opacity make D-503 feel like an overworked machine. The holiday—the Day of the One Vote—is tomorrow. D-503 will see I-330 there, but only from afar. This will be painful for him, but the pain is worth it. D-503 finds his masochistic longings absurd, as pain is negative and detracts from happiness.
D-503 knows that it’s irrational of him to love I-330 because loving her pains him. Still, he finds it increasingly impossible to repress his feelings for her.
D-503’s record picks up in the evening, where he explains the history and significance of the Day of the One Vote, which he compares to the Ancients’ Easter holiday. The Day of the One Vote is the same every year: it is the day the ciphers vote, unanimously, to reelect the Benefactor. Ciphers vote publicly, not in private, like in older civilizations’ elections. The Day of the One Vote is symbolic: it reminds ciphers of the power of their collective unity.
The Day of the One Vote reinforces the importance of the collective whole. The lack of privacy involved in the One State’s electoral process shows that the government knows that, given the freedom to choose, its citizens might not reelect their authoritarian government; they must make voting a public, monitored event to ensure that ciphers will not vote based on their own self-interest.
As D-503 wraps up his record, he sees a woman undressing in an adjacent apartment. His thoughts turn to I-330’s cryptic utterance, “one last thing,” but any doubts he has are quickly replaced by feelings of love for her. He immediately calls her to ask if she will come over tomorrow. She says she can’t, and that he’ll understand why tomorrow.
D-503 is repressing his anxieties, but the tables have turned: whereas before he dismissed his love for I-330 to remain loyal to the One State, he now dismisses moments of rationality to continue loving I-330.