Who stacked the poll?

My latest blog poll, which like all of them is fun not a scientific poll, is asking who people would vote for. As one would expect with my political leanings, there was a lot of National and ACT voters – around 75%.

But then as I was out enjoying a night on the town, I got a text mentioning that someone appeared to be stacking the poll and multiple voting for Labour and the Greens. I was not surprised as a near identical thing had happened almost a dozen times previously with other online political , as I last blogged about here.

I had set it to stop multiple voting on the basis of cookie, not IP address, so that more than one person in a large workplace (such as Parliament) could vote. But I did have it set to log voting by IP address, in case anyone set up a bot to automatically delete the cookie and multiple vote. Or if someone is a total loser, in case someone sat by a computer for a few hours manually deleting their cookie, and multiple voting.

So what do the logs say. Let us look at votes for Labour:

610 Guest 202.20.0.60 / -s1.vuwsa.org.nz 31 March 2008 @ 5:26 pm
612 Guest 202.20.0.60 / vuwsa-s1.vuwsa.org.nz 31 March 2008 @ 5:26 pm
614 Guest 202.20.0.60 / vuwsa-s1.vuwsa.org.nz 31 March 2008 @ 5:25 pm
616 Guest 202.20.0.60 / vuwsa-s1.vuwsa.org.nz 31 March 2008 @ 5:24 pm
618 Guest 202.20.0.60 / vuwsa-s1.vuwsa.org.nz 31 March 2008 @ 5:21 pm

Out little poll hacker started work at 5.20 pm and was voting several times per minute. Votes for the Greens were also being cast during that time, so it was maybe six to eight votes per minute – almost certainly automated.

7 Guest 202.20.0.60 / vuwsa-s1.vuwsa.org.nz 31 March 2008 @ 7:19 pm
8 Guest 202.20.0.60 / vuwsa-s1.vuwsa.org.nz 31 March 2008 @ 7:19 pm

And they look to have stopped around 7.19 p.m.

In total they cast around 600 votes for Labour and 650 votes for the Greens.

Now VUWSA is the Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association. They take over one million dollars a year in compulsory fees from Victoria students. Students will be no doubt pleased to hear the sort of activities they are forced to fund now includes stacking and multiple voting in online polls.

I hope Salient will make some inquiries of the Association, specifically which (presumably) executive or staff member was using the computer with that IP address. How many times have they done this before? Do they think it is compatible behaviour with being custodians of compulsory fees?

And their colleagues around the country will no doubt thank the person responsible for adding another example to the armory of those who support voluntary membership of student associations.

UPDATE: The VUWSA IP address seems to include the Salient computers, so maybe Salient should also interview its own staff or volunteers on who was using it.

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