by SUSAN ANDERSON
Director of Children’s House
The Honorary Mayor of Eastsound race – an annual fundraiser sponsored by and benefiting Children’s House – concludes on Saturday, July 6.
Votes are accepted until 2 p.m. at the Farmers’ Market when the winner will be announced on stage and current Mayor Murphy (a Portuguese Waterdog) exchanges the key to the Village.
The race is still wide open, but we’ve asked political experts Layna Mosley and Andrew Reynolds to analyze the campaign so far. Voters can follow the election at http://orcasislandmayor.wordpress.com.
Q: The candidates vary quite a bit in the constituencies they’re trying to mobilize. How effective do you expect these different voter mobilization strategies to be?
A: Looking at the candidates’ political platforms, it’s striking to observe the range of parties represented – LABritarians, Cascadia Separatists, Beagalitarians , Windependents and Island Independents. But can the candidates build broad enough coalitions to bring in the votes they’ll need by July 6? Winston is targeting his appeals to the canine crowd, offering to pave the streets (including Mt. Baker road) with dog treats. Jinjer also is appealing to the folks she knows best – preschoolers at OICH.
But Winston isn’t the only dog in the race, so he may have a hard time winning over voting canines. And, like preschoolers, those canines may not be the vote buying machines. This could spell trouble for Jinjer and Winston.
Lucy may have hit on a broader strategy to appeal to voters – parking herself at the bar, performing the “prairie dog,” and playing on the sympathies of beer-addled patrons. Then again, when it comes to choosing between another pint of Old Madrona or a vote for Lucy, Lucy’s supporters might not always buy the votes she needs.
Q: Andrew, you’ve worked on elections in a range of places, including Afghanistan, Egypt and Zimbabwe. What’s your sense of the election process here?
A: I’ve seen my share of voter fraud – maybe even contributed to it sometimes – and I have to say that the Eastsound mayor’s race is something of a dogs breakfast. On one hand the egregious vote buying is transparent and used to good effect. I haven’t had a chance to study the ballot, but I believe it is confusing and easy to spoil. Why aren’t there color photos on the ballot for less-human voters or perhaps scratch and sniff?
There are a lot of puppies chasing hanging chads, and it’s just not clear how the Supreme Court might rule on such malfeasance.
Q: During the last week, there’s been lots of attention to Supreme Court rulings on voting rights as well as marriage equality. What can we expect these candidates to do to promote equality if elected?
A: It all depends on whose “equality” we are talking about. These candidates are diverse in some ways – political affiliation, size of bark and body, ability to twirl like a ballerina or sit on hind legs – and yet, let’s face it, they are all dogs. While they’ve each promised, in various ways, to think about “all of their constituents,” even including cats, one has to wonder how sincere these promises are.
Fair point. But that said, all five of these candidates seem to have the interests of Children’s House students at heart.