Many who are frustrated with our current elected officials would rather vote for someone else - anyone else - including a dog added to the ballot as a write-in candidate. On Friday, Aug. 1, KOMO 4 News reported that a dog in Bellingham, Washington might be a write-in candidate for Whatcom County Prosecutor. The dog, a mixed breed named Nyima, has great character, according to his guardian, Frank James.
While David McEachran is running unopposed for an 11th term as the county's prosecutor, James hopes that Nyima will be a write-in candidate to oppose the longstanding county prosecutor in the August 5 primary.
"Nyima's charming, he is honest, he has a lot of the character and features we'd like to see in politicians, " stated James.
"Our current prosecuting attorney has had no opposition in 10 terms, and it's time for other people to think about running," he said.
James, who is a public health and family doctor in Whatcom County, believes that having others run against public officials is the best way to hold them accountable. And others seem to share this viewpoint - Nyima's first endorsement came from political blogger Riley Sweeney.
"Nyima's not going to win the election, and people are taking this write-in challenge too seriously, but people need to be encouraged to run for office and maybe this could do it," stated James. Sweeney agreed: "Elections are a chance for voters to conduct a job review. If there's no candidate, we don't get to look at the issues the county prosecutor's office deals with and we don't get to assess if he's been doing a good job or not."
According to Whatcom County Auditor Debbie Adelstein, "frivolous" write-in candidates are a waste of their time. She stated: "Anything that slows down the process is time, and that's money and that's cost to the tax payers."
Adelstein stated that write-in candidates, whether they're real or fake, have to be separated. These candidates will not be included in the final tallies unless the race is very close. Then election workers will examine the names and determine if they're registered voters.
While frivolous write-in candidates can be expensive, Adelstein does see Nyima's challenge as a valid way to make a point with state lawmakers. According to Adelstein, county auditors have been trying to get the Olympia legislature to pass a measure requiring write-in candidates to register 18 days before an election. Adelstein stated that this would cut down on the additional work of verifying the legitimacy of write-in candidates.
County auditors have been pushing for this measure over the last two sessions. "It just hasn't gotten any traction yet, but maybe a candidate such as [Nyima] will point out to them, what occurs for the counties that have to account that," said Adelstein. McEachran stated that he didn't have time to discuss has canine competitor, as he was preparing for a case.
Nyima isn't the only nonhuman animal who has tried to get into the political mix - people have been trying to help their animals into political office for generations, going back to Caligula, reportedly wanted his horse to be a Consul. According to the Huffington Post, a mule was once elected as a Precinct Committeeman and a Texas border town elected three beer-drinking goats as mayor. The people of Lajitas, Texas, had three generations of goat mayors: Clay Henry I, II, and III. The beer-drinking goats were treasured county residents.
A dog named Satchel ran for President in 2012 as part of the "Bully Party." A cat named Hank ran for Senate in Virginia, with his biography stating that he had been born to a single mother living on the streets. Before his historic run for Senate, Hank, his mother, and his siblings were at an animal shelter where they sat on death row. A border collie named Lucy Lou ran for Mayor of Rabbit Hash, which had two previous dog mayors: Junior Conchran and Goofy. Morris the Cat, the spokesperson for 9 Lives, ran for President during 1988 and 1992 as part of the Finicky Party.
In 1938, a mule named Boston Curtis was elected as the Precinct Committeeman (Republican Precinct Committeeman) in Milton, Washington. Then mayor Kenneth Simmons set up the mule as a joke to prove that people weren't informed about who they were voting for. Curtis' election win proved that he was right.
In Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1959, residents voted for a rhinoceros named Cacareco for city council. The people of Sao Paulo elected him as a form of protest. In 1968, a pig named Pigasus was nominated for President at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The nomination was a stunt by the Youth International Party.