If only chickens could vote

Published 8:39 pm Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The first paragraph of the story caught my attention: “Voters dressed in chicken costumes won’t be allowed inside Nevada polling places this year.”

As a newspaper person, my first thought was that was one great lead — or introduction — to a story. I certainly wanted to know why chicken costumes were now a no-no in Nevada.

Then, as a questioning type of person, I had to ask if, in the past, there had been problematic chicken suit situations in Reno that prompted such a ban.

Intrigued, I read on.

It turns out the entire chicken suit ban relates back to a squabble between two U.S. Senate candidates.

Earlier in the campaign, the Republican candidate, Sue Lowden, suggested people barter with merchants in exchange for services, sort of like how “our grandparents would bring a chicken to the doctor.”

This statement prompted her opponent, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to set up a website, “Chickens for Checkups” and send people in chicken suits to Lowden’s rallies. Reid’s plan was to use the chicken comment to highlight what he described as Lowden’s lack of understanding of the “common man.”

The chicken appearances ruffled Lowden’s feathers and the Board of Registrars agreed, calling a “fowl” on Reid. They then banned chicken costumes, as well as political buttons, shirts, hats, signs and other campaign items from within 100 feet of polling places.

There’s no word if other barnyard costumes – a cow or pig, for example – would be banned. We also don’t know if the ban goes beyond the barn. Who’s to say if a man in a gorilla suit will be allowed to cast a ballot or a lady dressed as a zebra can declare herself a Republican or a Democrat.

Now, I’m not familiar with all the ins and outs of the Lowden/Reid race, but I would guess they probably have a few more things to worry about than people in chicken suits. My guess is their constituents are concerned about things like having a job and earning a paycheck so they can afford to feed their family.

And what will they be eating? Chicken, of course.

As for Lowden and Reid, I hope they are happy that their chicken talk has landed them on the national news. If you ask me, they are both cuckoo.