Bizarre twist in Gympie councillor poll
AN ONLINE poll to rate Gympie councillors' performances took a stunning turn overnight, with the poll hacked in an apparent attempt to influence the result.
Since yesterday afternoon the number of votes for councillors Glen Hartwig and Daryl Dodt more than doubled, in comparison to a modest 25-25 per cent increase in the totals for all other councillors.
Most of these new votes shifted the results for these two councillors towards the other end of the spectrum.
Until last night Mr Hartwig was being rated most favourably, and Mr Dodt the least.
This morning Mr Hartwig's results had gone from a 26 per cent "perfect" rating down to 12 per cent, and a 39 per cent "good" rating to 19 per cent.
Mr Dodt's, on the other hand, had gone from a 65 per cent "failure" rating shrink to 28 per cent, and a 9 per cent "good" rating balloon to 40 per cent.
The total votes for each of them was significantly higher than the number cast for the next closest councillor, Hilary Smerdon, and twice as many as four other councillors (Bob Leitch, Mal Gear, Dan Stewart and mark McDonald) each received.
As a result we are discarding this result and running the poll again using a more secure system.
The Gympie Times' online polls generally use a "cookie" based system which allows numerous people from the same organisation or building to vote.
This would mean, for example, that if you work at a local firm, using the same internet address, you and your colleagues would be able to vote.
We can also use a more secure system, based on the IP address, which only allows one person to vote from that IP address.
That means, however, that two people in the same office or even household, could not vote.
The new poll launches on Monday using this second system.
Our polls are not scientific but a reflection only of those wanting to vote on an issue.
Generally people who feel strongly on an issue are more likely to vote.
And of course, like any polls, they are subject to manipulation from time to time.
For example, a political party or candidate could urge their supporters to vote on a poll to "swing" the outcome.
Our News Corp tech team is investigating which accounts were responsible for the repeated votes.