How we kept out the vote-riggersby Tom Nuttall / August 22, 2004 / Leave a comment
Published in August 2004 issue of Prospect Magazine
When Time in 1999 asked its readers to select their person of the century, the poll was hijacked by various carefully co-ordinated vote-rigging campaigns. Prospect is read by only about 60,000 people, rather less than Time’s 2m; nonetheless, we too had to fight off the vote-riggers. It began soon after the magazine came out last month with a clumsy attempt to boost Melvyn Bragg’s vote: within half an hour, I was sent about 20 email votes for Bragg, almost all from email addresses with an itv.com suffix. None of the emails included any other nominations-we had asked voters to select five names from our list-and some (“I vote for Melvyn!!!”) suggested that the voter was not treating the enterprise with full seriousness. Later campaigns on behalf of Ziauddin Sardar, Brian Eno and Anthony Barnett were executed no more skilfully, and the votes were similarly discounted. A late flurry of votes for Julian Le Grand-possibly after Frank Johnson in the Spectator questioned his existence-had the reek of orchestration about it, but seemed unlikely to disturb the final placings, so I let it pass.