As the 2015 Archons prepare to relinquish their titles, let’s review the process by which The Park chooses its annual government:
Focus on: Sortition
January is the most important month in the political life of The Park. It is the month during which, every year, 35 Animals are selected and sworn in to serve as The Park’s leaders, or Archons. Together, these Archons will establish policies that will affect the lives of all who live in The Park.
Today, we focus on sortition, the process by which The Park’s Archons are selected.
The Park’s 35 Archons are selected each year by a process known as sortition or the lottery or allotment method. This was the system put into place by Jor, The Park’s first leader and the founder of modern zoocracy.
Sortition has its origins in some of the oldest Human societies. After completing an exhaustive study of ancient Human political systems, Jor concluded that the basic tenets of zoocracy would best be maintained through the use of sortition rather than by direct elections. With the assistance of a panel of consultants, Jor made modifications to some of the original rules of sortition and crafted the system that has been in continuous use since the establishment of zoocracy.
The first step in the selection of Archons requires the cooperation of The Park’s citizens. By the end of October each year, all adult Park citizens are required to submit and confirm their names. Traditionally, all Animal names have included some reference to species. Third, fourth, and later generations may choose to drop this reference in their names, but some indication of species is required when Animals make their submission to stand as candidates for Archon to the Department of Political Administration (DPA). Illness constitutes the only exception to this rule. Animals who are ill and who believe they would be unable to fulfil their duties as Archon due to their illness are required to advise the DPA of their circumstances by submitting a Form 12.
On January 5 every year, these submitted names are divided into six groups, according to six Animal classes. These classes are: Amphibians, Birds, Fishes, Invertebrates, Mammals, and Reptiles. The names are then inscribed on cards and placed in one of six opaque boxes, according to Animal class. Each of the six boxes is shaken three times by three different members of the Department of Political Administration.
The final selection of Archons is made by seven Department of Political Administration staff members. The staff members must have been in the employ of the department for at least five years and have no record of criminal activity. The chosen staff members are required to swear an oath of “honest and impartial fulfillment of the task” and to sign a declaration of the same in front of two witnesses. Six of the staff members are blindfolded and asked to reach into each opaque box and to pull out one card from the box. This is done a total of five times to ensure that there are 30 Archons chosen and that each of the six Animal classes is represented by five Archons.
WILD CARD SPOTS
The cards that remain are placed together in one box and shaken three times more. The seventh staff member, blindfolded, chooses five more cards. These are the five “wild card spots” that fulfill the number of Archons required. There is no restriction on Animal class or species for these spots.
SELECTION OF CHIEF ARCHON
When the final selection of Archons has been made, the remaining cards bearing candidates’ names are destroyed. The cards with the names of the 35 new Archons are placed in one opaque box, which is, again, shaken three times. The name of the Chief Archon is selected from these cards by Mr. Justice Augustus Dindon of The Park’s Superior Court.
CERTIFICATION OF CHOICE
The choice of the 35 Archons, including that of the Chief Archon, is certified by Mr. Justice Augustus Dindon of The Park’s Superior Court.
ANNOUNCEMENT OF ARCHONS
In accordance with Section 127, subsection XII, of The Park’s Constitution, the list of new Archons is posted at the Law Courts on the morning of January 15 each year, ten days after the final selection has been made. In order for Park citizens and residents to review the names, the list remains posted until the end of the week. Any Park citizens who wish to contest the selection of any Archon or Archons may do so by submitting a formal contest form (Form 15C) to the Department of Political Administration. The deadline for Form 15C submissions is January 31.
This article was originally published on January 17, 2013.