Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Voting Sins 

Finished today editing write-in votes to the Locus Poll and tabulating not-quite-final results, pending only the last few paper ballots mailed to Oakland that have yet to be entered into the online form for electronic tabulation at my end. Part of the editing of ballots received thus far is checking for various voting sins. The ballot clearly says we will not count submissions without names or emails, and so the dozen or so ballots received without names or emails were therefore tagged invalid and have been omitted from final tallies.

Worse were those ballots that, despite admonitions, voted for the same item more than once in the same category. The rules every year say not to do this, but a few voters do anyway, even a few voters with recognizable, famous names. What do I do? Well, I don't throw the ballots out entirely, though perhaps I should. I just omit all votes for the same item in a category except for the lowest ranking vote. For example, ballot number 612, not to name names, tended to vote for the same item five times in every category. I tagged all votes except for the lowest-ranking as invalid. Perhaps I should make this rule more explicit next year, but really, I think I'm being generous to count any such votes at all.

Actually, the number of voters who commit this sin is relatively few... few enough that their votes, counted or not, don't affect the final results for the winner or close runners-up in any category.

As a matter of fact, a couple categories in this year's poll *are* very close, and may be determined by the last few ballots received... but likely not determined by voters committing any detectable sins.
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Mark R. Kelly

The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Mark R. Kelly, and do not reflect the editorial position of Locus Magazine.
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