Hanging Chads in the Pet Décor Contest

Hanging Chads in the Pet Décor Contest

Aug 3, 2006

A few hours before the polls closed yesterday in the Pet Décor Contest (5pm), we noticed something strange going on. Suddenly the votes for two of our finalists, Bob and Jessica, shot way up. The comments revealed a level of unprecedented passion among the voters.

At about 2:00 we received en email from Bob, volunteering to withdraw from the contest.

For the remainder of the day Bob and Jessica stayed neck and neck, with Jessica finally beating out Bob by 16 votes (see the final tally above.)

Bob's email had explained that some friends from an online guinea pig forum, in their eagerness to see him win, had found some ways to get around our poll security and were casting multiple votes for him. He had asked them to stop but it was too late. Observing the parallel run-up in votes for Jessica, he surmised that folks out there were doing the same thing on her behalf.

We like running contest on AT. They seem to bring out the best in our readers. Clearly they bring out some other things as well. We don't think Bob should withdraw. But we're bummed that we'll never know if he was fated to be something other than 2nd place. And what about Jessica and Dana?

What we want to know is, what do you think? Given the limitations of our honor voting system, what's the best way to handle our very own AT:SF hanging chad scandal? Remember, we have cool prizes from George for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places just waiting to be awarded...

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