Thursday, February 15, 2007

City ok with multiple voting

On Tuesday evening, I emailed the city of Grand Forks to tell them:

"Your current poll about the new "Welcome to Grand Forks" sign allows people to vote as many times as they want to and people have clearly been casting hundreds or even thousands of votes at a time."

They didn't email me back. They didn't take down the poll. They didn't disable multiple votes per person. In other words, they don't really care if someone casts thousands of votes...doesn't matter to them.

Since anyone could come along and conceivably cast enough votes to make their choice the winner, the results of the poll mean nothing. This poll is a joke and so is the city's inattentiveness.

Update - 2/15/2007 - 6:09 PM
WDAZ just aired a story on the poll and how it allows multiple voting. The city employee that they spoke with called the poll "unscientific"...that's an understatement. When about one third of the votes came from one person (as the voter himself confessed over on Tu-Uyen's blog, that's not just "unscientific"...that's ridiculous. I'm glad to see WDAZ letting their viewers know about the problems with this sad excuse for a poll.

9 comments:

GrandForksGuy said...

Within the last hour, the number of votes for Concept 2 has jumped from 6,000 to over 10,000.

Anonymous said...

I can't see Departure City on either of the options.

Anonymous said...

Settle down GF Guy it's just a web poll.

GrandForksGuy said...

"Settle down GF Guy it's just a web poll."

Do you realize how simple it would have been for the city to put up a poll that didn't allow people to cast multiple votes? If you're going to put a poll like this out there and pretend that it will in some way represent local consensus on the signs, the least you can do is allow just one vote per person. Otherwise, the poll is totally pointless and misleading.

Anonymous said...

GFG - your poll aren't much better.

As long as I wipe my cookies I can vote every single day and if I use a different computer, I can vote multiple times on the same day as well.

GF web page poll is 3rd grade level and yours at least gets into middle school.

wolfgf said...

For the city to pretend it cares about what its citizens think about these "welcome" concepts and then reverse itself to say it doesn't care if the voting is rigged, rises to the highest levels of flip-floppery.

GrandForksGuy said...

"GFG - your poll aren't much better.

As long as I wipe my cookies I can vote every single day and if I use a different computer, I can vote multiple times on the same day as well.
"

I'm a little doubtful that people are going to bother to go from computer to computer to vote multiple times in my polls or that they're going to bother to wipe out their cookies between votes. Using those tactics, someone could possibly vote a few times (or at the most a few dozen times) in my poll, but no one is going to bother doing those things hundreds or thousands of times. The city's poll is set up so the same person can vote literally hundreds or thousands of times in a short period of time.

Besides, my polls are obviously not "official" in any sense of the term. They are just an interesting thing to add to the blog. No one is going to take them very seriously. On the other hand, most people would think the city's poll was in some way more "official" and people would think that their one little vote is going to mean something in the long run. How far from the truth.

wolfgf - I agree totally. This is a ridiculous mistake and their response to it is laughable. If they had any sense, they would have taken the poll down as soon as the public became aware that the poll allowed multiple votes. Now, as long as they keep it up, it (and the city government itself) becomes more and more of a joke.

On a side note, the only other poll like this the city has put up on their site was about the Christmas decorations they were testing out. When they took that poll down, there were less than 300 votes. Today, there are almost 40,000 votes in the current poll. I wonder the average number of votes per person. I'm thinking it must be at least a dozen. There have been people who have been voting thousands of times, though.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Settle down GF Guy it's just a web poll.
5:41 PM, February 18, 2007


That's the dumbest thing I've ever read.

Maybe I should make a poll and ask if everyone agrees, and then when I get 174,943 votes vs 802 votes, I can reflect on the honesty of the poll takers. Or I could just vote for "that is the dumbest thing I have ever read" and call it unanimous.

Besides, isn't it pointless to have a poll in the first place if you don't care what the results will be, or how accurate the results are?

Anonymous said...

Ahh yes, you're right web polls are good statistical information. In fact perhaps we should have GF Guy list all City Council agenda items on a web poll so that we can all vote on them. I would suggest the city site but I think we all know their polls are a joke. Maybe we can even vote on the next city election through a web poll.

Get a grip people...web polls are not scientific. I think they are something done for fun, but do we really think the council should decide to retain the Smiley water tower because GF Guy's web poll showed 55% of the people wanted to keep it. No, I don't think so, neither should we decide that Concept 1 or 2 be chosen simply because many people voted multiple times.