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Saturday, March 25, 2006

New Orleans Election Follies: The Winner Take All Web Poll

Thanks to Phil and Troy for giving me this platform. From it, I am going to draw your attention to the City of New Orleans, it's people, it's politics, and it's reconstruction.

My blog is Alan's Blogometer.

Rig The Vote

How would you like to influence the outcome of the city elections in New Orleans on April 22nd? You don't have to be a registered voter in Orleans Parish. You don't have to visit Louisiana.

Heck, you don't have to do anything but click a link. Go ahead and Click for Nick, I'll wait here.


You see, WDSU Channel 6, is hosting candidate debates. They hold a debate with all candidates, but then they hold final debates with a few chosen candidates. These few chosen candidates benefit from the valuable TV time, but with the added prestige that the exclusivity bestows.

How do they choose the final candidates?

With an online poll.

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk for Mayor of New Orleans

Anyone can vote in this mock election. You can vote multiple times, if you wait a few minutes.

Does anyone recalls how proud Turks nominated Mustafa Kemal Ataturk for Time's man of the century? It is an example of how how these polls are so easily manipulated.

That the outcome of this poll can profoundly influence the lesser contests is staggering.

Click for Nick

I'm encouraging everyone I know to Click for Nick Varrecchio for Clerk of Court, by the way. He's my candidate. I'm workin on his campaign. Nick Varrecchio has a bunch of solid endorsments, a strong campaign. He can make it without the debate, but he really ought one of the two up there.

I want to make sure Nick does well in this poll, but I also think it's a big mistake.

My good friend Paul Christman had this to say over at my blog...

It seems like a horrible (if well-intentioned) abuse of the power of media to influence an election.

Knowing that its happening, and that the system is broken, I think you should do whatever is in your power to take advantage of the system *AND* highlight its injustice. What would WDSU say if one candidate has a million votes, while the next candidate has a thousand?

I'm not sure I can convince WDSU that the disclaimer that they themselves attach to their web polls should be taken seriously.
Please keep in mind that our polls are for entertainment and are not conducted in a scientific fashion.

We make no guarantees about the accuracy of the results other than that they reflect the choices of the users who participated.
Maybe a whole bunch of blogger participation would draw attention to the flaws in this system.

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