The Council of the Ugly Islands

Council's Role and powers

The Council began as a general meeting of all islanders who wanted to attend, called the Althing. This was replaced in 1922 by an elected council of six members, with many more islanders being invited onto a set of committees. While the committee structure is still there, it has not been used very much since the council was changed to twenty members in 1947. The Council was later reduced to the present twelve members in 1952.

The Council is responsible for making sure that the islanders live comfortable and happy lives, and has the power to make laws to make this come about. This gives the Council power to raise taxes, build roads, provide services, control whatever needs to be controlled, and to do whatever needs to be done.

This does not give the Council absolute power, as there is an escape clause in the way the Althing was replaced in 1922. If more than a hundred qualified voters, or 10% of the total number of qualified voters, or more than 20% of the qualified voters in any of Big Ugly, Little Ugly, or the Uglets demands it, the Althing may be convened to discuss any matters referred to it either on the demand of those voters, or by the Council. All voters on the islands meet together, and the vote of a simple majority makes a decision which is binding and final. Only 80 islanders are actually registered as living in the Uglets, which means that as few as 16 people can covene the Althing, given sufficient cause.

Crime is rare in the islands, but may be dealt with either by the Council or a committee created by the Council, with appeal to the Althing as a last resort in serious cases. There have never been any serious cases, so far.

Members

Jane Finnegan | Jean Grey | Stan Grey | Chuffer Harris
Barbara James| Steve Lander | Hamish Lim | Wanda Menzies
Buck Mulligan | Tom Nantucket | John Wellington-Wells | Hirohito

Elections

The island is governed by The Council, elected every odd year by popular vote. Suffrage is almost universal: once you have been to your first boatpulling, or started high school on Big Ugly, you are allowed to vote for candidates in your ten-year age range. If there are no candidates in your age range, you do not get a vote.

The strength of the votes for each ten-year age range is calculated by taking the square root of the maximum age of the voters in that group, rounding down and subtracting three. People in the 10-20 age group thus have one vote, those in the 20-30 range get double votes, and so on.

You need to have Islands citizenship to vote, but anybody may stand for election, as one of the four ways to get citizenship is to be elected to the Islands Council. (The others are to marry a citizen, to be born on the islands, or to be voted in as a citizen at an Althing. Hirohito is one of the few to have obtained citizenship this way.)

To make life more interesting, Big Ugly, Little Ugly and the Uglets are allocated a quota of councillors according to their populations. There are eight councillors from Big Ugly, one from the Uglets and three from Little Ugly, as most of the people in the Uglets have permanent homes on Little Ugly.

If any group is over-represented, the other groups run a second election to de-elect some of that oversize group, and a third election is then held by those same under-represented electors to choose replacements, who may be drawn from any part of the islands. In this situation, age is not a consideration, and all electors' votes have equal effect.

To make things more interesting still, when the election is in a year which is a prime number, the Big population elects the representatives for the other two areas, while the people of the Uglets and Little Ugly elect the representatives of Big Ugly.

Also, in each even year, anti-elections are held, at which seven of the twelve councillors are chosen for dismissal, and seven replacements are elected. By this method, the number of extremists on the council is kept to a very low level, since you only have to offend about 14% of the islanders to be tossed out. The system was first proposed by Steven Lander's great-grandmother, and his newspaper keeps everybody informed about who is where on the popularity totem pole.

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Last revised March 6, 2007.


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