On an Earth-like planet where decisions and lives are made by a popular vote, two men are found guilty of something. One tries to run and gets shot in the back. The other receives ten million "down-votes" and is electrocuted.
The Orville sends an away team consisting of Grayson, LaMarr, Kitan, and Dr. Finn to find two Union anthropologists who have not communicated with the Union for a month. They must dress to blend in which is difficult for Kitan and uncomfortable for LaMarr.
A local newsstand owner sells them four counterfeit vote badges so that they can blend in. LaMarr questions Kitan about her latest breakup and catches some attention from locals when he dances with a public monument.
At a cafe that was frequented by the missing anthropologists, they discover that downvotes can prevent you from being served. The barista is named Lysella and she likes LaMarr and upvotes him. While they are questioning her about the missing anthropologists, LaMarr's badge suddenly starts accumulating downvotes at great speed. Apparently video of him dancing with the statue has been uploaded and his badge number identified which is how people are down-voting him. When he tops 500,000 downvotes, Lysella kicks him out of the cafe.
On the street, they immediate attract crowd attention and Grayson contacts Mercer to inform him that they are being threatened by the local population. She starts to move the team to the shuttle but LaMarr's downvotes are over a million by now and the police arrive and arrest him.
Mercer contacts Union Command and begs Admiral Tucker to allow him to reveal the Orville to the planet and rescue LaMarr. Tucker denies his request and tells him that LaMarr will have to suffer the consequences.
At the police station, LaMarr meets his publicity manager who is in charge of his apology tour. The planet does not have lawyers or courts. The public votes on an individual's guilt. If LaMarr accumulates ten million downvotes, he will undergo "social correction" which is basically electroshock lobotomy.
The team confers with LaMarr and discusses how much damage the "social correction" could do to him. Dr. Finn wants to examine someone who has undergone the correction and Kitan points out that the anthropologists must've been corrected a month ago. If they can find them, Dr. Finn will be able to see if the damage is reversible.
In the first stage of his apology tour, LaMarr is brought to "The Chat" a talk-show where the three female hosts question him on his actions and accuse him of having a rehearsed and insincere apology. When he can't name an action performed by the woman whose statue he danced with, the crowd and the hosts are extremely upset and his downvotes increase to four million.
On board the ship, Isaac determines that this society is the most pure form of democracy. Bortus reveals that he sings.
Kitan and Dr. Finn return to the cafe to talk to Lysella but a customer accuses Kitan of wearing a headdress she is not entitled to. Retreating to the restroom, Dr. Finn tries to create a headscarf for her from a part of her dress but Lysella walks in and sees Kitan's brow ridge and ears.
They convince her not to freak out and sit down to find out what happened to the anthropologists. She reveals that one was shot and killed. Their crime was not giving up their seat for a pregnant woman on the train. A photo of their obliviousness was uploaded and earned the downvotes that led to their conviction.
They find the house the anthropologists lived in and Lewis is sitting on his bed. Dr. Finn is worried by his reaction to her and orders Kitan to help her get him back to the ship.
LaMarr is on another talk show and tries to gain upvotes by being positive. This doesn't seem to work.
Dr. Finn examines Lewis on the ship and realizes the damage is too severe to reverse. LaMarr's downvotes are up to over nine million. Mercer decides to bring Lysella aboard the Orville. She is brought to the conference room and explains how her society works. Isaac figures out that if they can hack the Master Feed that people read to help them decide how to vote, they can help LaMarr escape Correction.
They flood the feed with various emotional appeals to the public and LaMarr's downvote count stops four votes short of ten million. He gets to go back to the ship. Lysella learns to exercise her vote responsibly.