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Sunday, December 05, 2004

Everybody Must Get Stoned
The 2004 Weblog Awards ran into a bit of a voting problem, and named names of the beneficiaries:

Thanks to members of Daily Kos publishing automated voting code we've had to enforce strict IP checking for the polls....Once the code got into circulation many of the sites nominated for Best Overall Blog got "help" by automated bots designed to continuously vote.

Those sites have been blocked permanently from accessing this site, but there's no way to stop future attacks short of limiting each IP address to one vote every 24 hours. Unfortunately this will affect AOL users and those behind corporate firewalls....

Over 40,000 votes generated by scripted voting have been removed from the totals of the sites they were cast for....

As disappointing as the actions of the few are, they were not entirely unexpected. The volume of fraudulent votes generated by the scripts temporarily overwhelmed my ability to remove those votes, but things are back to normal now - unless you're an AOL user and getting the error that you've already voted....

As a personal aside, I am deeply disappointed in a few bloggers from the left and right who encouraged their readers to cheat, game the system, and inflict a flood of crap (much like blog comment spam) on another blogger. You know who you are, and you should be ashamed of yourself.

Special thanks to those sending words of encouragement, and offers of help. Even one of the scripters apologized and provided valuable help in parsing the log file for use in removing the scripted votes.

For those of you playing along at home, here's how many script votes were cast Saturday evening:

Talking Points Memo - Total fraudulent votes: 10236
Eschaton - Total fraudulent votes: 9369
Daily Kos - Total fraudulent votes: 15181
LGF - Total fraudulent votes: 4007
Wonkette - Total fraudulent votes: 2235

All of those votes have been removed from the vote totals.

However, in 2003 there was a more insidious plot to rig an election, if you believe Bob Mullholland (emphasis mine):

California Democratic Party leaders today blasted the Taco Bell restaurant chain for a sales promotion that counts sales of different menu items as votes in a mock California recall election.

Last week the Mexican-style fast food chain launched the campaign, urging Californians to "put their vote where their mouth is." Taco Bell restaurants statewide are tallying each purchase of a crunchy beef taco as a "vote" for Republican challenger Arnold Schwarzenegger and each purchase of a chicken soft taco as a "vote" for not recalling Gov. Gray Davis. In the first week of the unofficial poll, "votes" for any of the remaining 134 candidates could be cast by buying a Grilled Stuft Burrito.

Taco Bell announced the first installment of its Taco Poll results today, in which 54 percent of the votes went to Schwarzenegger and his crunchy beef taco, and just three percent of the votes went to Davis and his chicken soft taco. All other candidates received 43 percent of votes through purchases of the chain's Grilled Stuft Burrito....

Unhappy with the mock poll results, the chairman of the California Democratic Party, former state Sen. Art Torres said today that "Taco Bell should stick to making tacos, not rigging elections."

In a press statement released today, [Art] Torres said beef tacos always outsell chicken tacos, which cost twice as much at the restaurant chain. In Sacramento, Torres said, Taco Bell sells beef tacos for 74 cents and chicken tacos for $1.50.

Bob Mulholland, campaign advisor for the California Democratic Party, says the Taco Poll is also "an investment scam to benefit Schwarzenegger." He pointed to the actor's ownership of about $1 million of stock in Pepsico Inc. The company is the former owner of Taco Bell and is still its exclusive soft drink supplier, Mulholland says....

The other day I read another story (I forgot the source) of a person whose blog was hacked into and temperred.

Until recently I was naive to think blogs were the only honest means of publishing and communicating. Your post ulimatelly changes it.

You're a very prolific blogger, by the way.
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