Nevada bans chicken suits from polling places

Nevada has banned people in chicken suits from polling places. The Republican candidate, Sue Lowden, suggested that people who are too poor for medical care could offer chickens to their doctors in lieu of payment.
State election officials on Friday added chicken suits to the list of banned items after weeks of ridicule directed at Republican Senate candidate Sue Lowden.

The millionaire casino executive and former beauty queen recently suggested that people barter with doctors for medical care, like when "our grandparents would bring a chicken to the doctor."

Democrats responded by setting up a website, "Chickens for Checkups," and by sending volunteers in chicken suits to her campaign events.

Chicken costumes banned at Nev. polling places (via JWZ)

(Image: chicken wing day at work!, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from slopjop's photostream)



    1. In a sense.

      They banned it because political propaganda on the day of the election is forbidden, I guess. Which makes sense.

      “Let them eat cake!” though makes no sense whatsoever, since there was no wheat to bake for bread or cake… except as political propaganda of its time, by then England.

      1. Except it was France.. and the closest English translation of “brioche” is cake. The original quote/anecdote would have been something like “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”; attributed to a princess of the French monarchy, and her ignorance of the general populace (despite the fact that brioche does often have a lower wheat content by weight than bread, I don’t think she was that astute…).

        So entirely appropriate for the subject at hand…

  1. “What the Cluck?” is what I first thought.

    Instead of at the polling places the chicken suits will be on major street corners getting more eyeball views…

  2. I once heard similar response from a conservative when discussing the lack of funding in some public education institutions.

    “Why don’t you just send your kids to a decent private school then?”

    The worst thing is that so many people actually think that this is an appropriate response.

  3. So the people of Nevada have the Republicans to thank for putting them in a fowl humor.

  4. First they came for the avian furries, and I did not speak out as I was not an avian furry…

  5. To be honest, all of this ridicule is a bit elitist. Bartering DOES happen in the farmlands and the rural areas, which also happens to be in the areas where Democrats lose ground to the Republicans. While lampooning Lowden may work in the short term election, it may turn off a much wanted constituent.

    1. Bartering happens, but it’s not remotely close to having a health plan. Farmers and people raising a couple chickens or other produce know the value of their produce. They’re aware just how far it’ll go in meeting their medical needs. Lowden’s numbers have gone done since the chicken quote went viral.

    2. That will no doubt be how the candidate in question will seek to represent it: elitist and anti-rural.

      The real criticism, though… is that when questioned on a serious subject upon which a public servant, especially at the current time, should be thoughtful and have an informed and intelligent opinion… this candidate gave the sort of laughably bad suggestion which suggests they don’t care about the issue and have no interest in improving it. A simple boilerplate appeal to tradition is given instead… which appears like an attempt to appeal to a very cynical idea of what her constituents value.

      Without all the puffery used to frame the suggestion, they basically suggested that nothing is wrong with the system and maybe poor people should just suck it up and try to liquidate their belongings for healthcare.

      It was a very flowery “fuck you”.

  6. In 100 years you’ll read in a book about silly laws: “It is illegal for someone to wear a chicken suit at a polling place in Nevada”.

  7. Political exhibits of all sorts have been banned at polling places in Virginia. I like the propaganda-free zone this creates.

  8. I don’t see how this ridicule can be considered elitist. while bartering does take place, for anyone to claim it or describe it by association as a sort of general or universal methodology, especially when something as important as healthcare is involved, it is ultimately laughable in the extreme.

    Which is to say, bartering does take place, and there’s nothing wrong with that. For a Senate candidate to use it as an example of how people should obtain healthcare – without differentiating at all between urban poor, rural poor, suburban poor, etc – smacks of an ideology and values system which cannot represent reality.

    Ultimately, if you raise chickens, and your doctor will take chickens as payment, then the system works fine. But where does any of this represent, for example, the urban poor? Should legitimate healthcare needs be reduced to the level of a drug dependency? “Hey man, I need some Zanax, I think I gotta pawn my wedding ring”

  9. Like France and Belgium’s burqa bans, it’s just for security to ensure facial recognition for everyone.

    1. No Mitch, you cannot carry out campaign activities within a certain distance of a US polling place. Because of what is going on, the Chicken suits are a campaign style activity and thus are illegal within that distance. Wear the chicken suit across the street and you are fine.

      Sometimes there really isn’t a sinister purpose behind things.

  10. So what if I just stand outside a polling place and eat an order of KFC? Or how about if I just sort of wander around the parking lot and cluck softly? How about if my friends and I stay in our regular clothes, but do the chicken dance over, and over, and over? Would those things get me removed from the polling site? How far will they go to limit free expression, and how can they possibly enforce a rule that is clearly meant to favor one candidate over another?

  11. If I’m too poor to afford health care, what makes her think I can afford chickens? And how many chickens do I need for a years worth of chemotherapy? (Maybe offer a child as an indentured servant to work off the debt. . . ahh progress.)

    1. I think the idea is that these would be chickens the patient raised, not bought. During the Depression, this sort of bartering was quite common. However, it doesn’t quite match the current cost of health care. How much is a chicken worth? $20? Even *with* insurance, I have to pay a $20 out of pocket co-pay just to see a general practitioner — and the real cost would be over $150 for someone without insurance. That’s a lot of chickens — and that’s just to *see* the doctor, not counting any drugs.

  12. If I was her, I would encourage my competition to rent chicken suits rather than buy ads against me. Few arguments can overcome the fact that the person espousing them is wearing a chicken suit. I think Obama didn’t release the whole birth certificate for the same reason; better to have your opposition obsessing over something a) stupid and b) obviously not true than doing something effective.

    1. Except that President Obama’s birth certificate WAS released. It is just the nutbags keep insisting that it wasn’t.

      1. I know, but the Birthers say that what was released was a short form, IIRC and wasn’t a photocopy of the original (written on the side of the Ark of the Covenant and signed by Stalin). The Birthers are using infinite regression where any document released isn’t the true one. There’s a subset of the Birther movement that says he was born a few years before he was born and was actually born in Kenya because the plan was for him to run for president. There’s more to the theory but the tinfoil hats muffle their voices.

    1. That is lovely. And now I wonder if going to the polls with a t-shirt saying that would be breaking the law.

  13. Isn’t that really similar to the bartering in “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” except that the bartering wasn’t for health care in the movie. What year does she think we are living in?.. 1932?.. How many chickens would you have to barter for emergency surgery?

  14. I don’t know about you, but my grandfather never paid for medical care with a chicken. He paid a weird little man who worked out of his ‘home office’ and who was also a ‘dentist’ in cash, under the table.

    But then again, my grandfather liked to cut corners.

  15. While I’ve never seen livestock trade hands, I routinely see negotiating on prices of surgeries in hospitals. I’d like to see more, not less, of this type of thing. (If the health care market were freer, you’d see the equivalent of personal financial advisors helping patients get higher quality care for lower cost, but there’s no “reimbursement” for that role now, so…)

    1. You’re missing the point (and the joke). It’s not that she said this ridiculous thing (and it is a ridiculous thing) its that she has not backed down from it. Even dug down her heels and tried to make it a point of her campaign.

      It’s one thing to say patients should have the right to get value for their dollar. It’s another thing to harken back to an era of barter for doctorin’.

      An era when people were lucky to see 60 and medical care for children and women was a step above leeches and bleedings.

  16. Unfortunately, Sue Lowden’s status as “THE” Republican candidate is now seriously in doubt, thanks to exactly this. The primary isn’t for a couple more weeks, and although she was once the favorite, she’s now behind in some polls–thanks to her chicken-bartering scheme, of course.

    Too bad, because she was shaping up to be the only way Harry Reid could hold on to his seat.

  17. When I vote, I wear my political t-shirt with the saying “silence is golden/ duct tape is silver”. After they give me the little “I voted today” sticker, I put it right over the duct taped mouth on the shirt.
    Is it really safe to deny angry satirists the right to express themselves? Shouldn’t we just let them have their way?

  18. Outlawing chicken suits is ridiculous. The fact that people were putting chicken suits on in the first place to ridicule the idea of promoting barter is also ridiculous. I don’t get it. If you have something to trade to your doctor, or plumber, or whatever in exchange for services, and they were willing to accept it… what’s wrong with that?

  19. Stephen Colbert really nailed the humor here.—sue-lowden

    *”But the left-wing-everyone made fun of Lowden for that.”
    *”Lowden’s plan is simple: just go where they sell live chickens; you can buy one for about 8 bucks. Then, when the doctor wants to charge you $40,000 to put a stent in your heart, offer him the chicken.”

  20. THAT scrambles their intention to make a bad yoke.

    Because: if you can’t -voting- seriously, what *can* you?

    (Reading this right after seeing the mugshot of Stravinsky in 1940 Boston made me felt like I’d fallen into an alternate universe where narrow-minded prudery had re-emerged in modern America.)

  21. Bartering and cost/benefit:

    God wants to create a companion for Adam. “She’ll do everything for you, no complaining.”

    “What’s this going to cost me?” asks Adam.

    God says, “It’s going to cost you an arm and a leg.”

    “Hell with that! What can I get for a rib?”

    “You need a bypass at $50,000.”

    “Hell with that! What can I get for a chicken?”

  22. As a lifelong Nevadan, the N in HDN is for Nevadan, I’ve been following this for awhile. Nice to see it boinged. It’s been on NPR’s Wait Wait, and the Colbert Report. Her comments at first were given the benefit of the doubt that perhaps she meant “bargain” which would make more sense, and when asked a couple of days later, she went further down the road of “barter.” Which is plainly ludicrous, we have cash to facilitate exchange, adding another layer to the process, as laborious and inefficient as it already is, cannot a step in the right direction to making health care cheaper. It’s a step backwards in time. And to think that this idea came from the GOP which most people, or at least I do perhaps from days gone by, associate with the party of business, you’d think she’d understand that. That she doesn’t annoys me, that it doesn’t seem to matter to my fellow, Republican, Nevadans saddens me. Choosing someone because maybe they can beat Reid at the cost of choosing someone who’s worse for Nevada is insane. I’ll never understand why we’d want to trade in the SML for a rookie Senator. Small states do better under the current rules with sending incumbents back. Anti-incumbency is anti small state.

  23. Huh. So my autologous bone marrow / stem cell harvest and eventual transplant will cost about $100,000. Its nice to know that I could instead show up to the hospital billing office with ten thousand egg-laying hens. I’ll be sure to schedule the procedures to occur just before Easter.

  24. So, is it just chickens or does the ban extend to all poultry?

    How about showing up as a duck, or a goose or a bantam?

  25. This is not that difficult, folks. Campaigning within a certain distance of a polling place is illegal. In this particular election, wearing chicken suits has become a campaign activity. Ergo, wearing a chicken suit at a polling place is now illegal.

  26. “Campaigning within a certain distance of a polling place is illegal. In this particular election, wearing chicken suits has become a campaign activity. Ergo, wearing a chicken suit at a polling place is now illegal.”

    Sure. And why *not* have two laws when one would do the trick? Just how long do you think the list of banned items should be – 1, 2, 500? I mean, next election red socks might be political statement du jour, so that’d be chicken suits and socks (togehter or individually). After that … beer-can-baseball-caps, then oversized sunglasses, then walking frames (tough if you’re an oldy), then clothes in general. And then, of course, no clothes at all, which will make turning up at a polling booth in legal attire very tricky.

    In short: they already had a rule for this (“no campaigning within a certain distance”), so why couldn’t they use /that/, rather than picking on a few dopey cosplay proponents?

    Captcha fun: suit atheletic :D

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