Gerritt Wezel’s office is a shambles.
“I thought last year was bad, but I didn’t see this coming,” says the head of the Park Election Office (PEO), as he points to the piles upon piles of paper that cover his desk. The papers, which are registration forms that verify the names and life histories of this year’s candidates for Park Official Prognosticator of Spring (POPS), have even spilled onto the floor, making any walk in this office a treacherous thing.
“Be careful where you step, or you could find yourself in court, charged with obstructing some Animal’s candidacy,” Wezel warns.
With only a few days to go before the annual all-candidates debate, the list of contenders vying for the position of POPS has grown so large that speaking time for each candidate has been cut in half. Wezel says that, otherwise, “we’d be going non-stop for a whole day.”
The PEO head believes that recent changes to the eligibility rules are the reason for the huge increase in the number of candidates.
“Ever since we opened up [candidacy] to all species, it’s grown by leaps and bounds,” he says.
This year, Wezel expects the final number to be well over 100, an increase over last year of more than 400 per cent.
“This is the highest level of interest we’ve seen and I don’t expect it to level off any time soon. And that’s why I think there may come a time when we’ll have to look at this thing differently and, perhaps, require some qualifications for the position,” he says.
That time is not likely to come soon, though. It has only been since 2003 (23 AZ), subsequent to the decision of Mr. Justice Augustus Dindon in the landmark case of “Spring’s Unsprung Heroes” vs the descendants of E. Bromley Groundhog, that the position of POPS has been an elected one. Park Animals, understandably, are liable to defend vigorously their right to stand as candidates, no matter how large the number gets.
In the meantime, Wezel says he is glad that November 5 is on the horizon. That is the last day that Animals are allowed to enter the race.
JUST THE FACTS
If you’re still thinking about running for POPS 2014, here are some things you should know:
1. You have until noon on November 5 to have your name officially entered as a candidate.
2. The names of all candidates will be released at 2:00 a.m. on November 6.
3. POPS hopefuls are allowed to campaign for votes until 8:00 p.m. on November 6.
4. The all-candidates debate begins at 8:00 p.m. on November 6.
5. Animals are not allowed to campaign on election day, November 7.