Just imagine: It’s April 2013 and the Liberal Party has gathered in Ottawa to hear that their new leader is… Chuck Norris. While that outcome may seem far-fetched, if the Liberals follow through with their plan to combine a new category of party membership with online voting, they may end up with an outcome just as ridiculous. The new “supporter” category was created at the Liberal Convention in January and is aimed at widening the base of participants for the leadership vote, making it more like a U.S.-style primary. Anyone interested in the party can sign up online and 30,000 people have already done so. If everything goes as planned, these supporters will vote for a new leader in exactly the same way as a full party member: in person or by mail, phone or internet. It’s the internet bit that’s interesting because, judging from the history of web, online votes have a tendency to go hilariously wrong.
Just take the example of the Chuck Norris bridges. Earlier this year, a regional authority in Slovakia launch an effort to name a new pedestrian and cycling bridge to Austria via an online survey. The result was an avalanche of votes for the “Chuck Norris bridge,” in reference to the American action star. This prompted the assembly to go back on their original promise to honour the wishes of citizens and name it something else.
The result? Colbert won with roughly 10 million more votes than the entire population of the country. A second vote was organized, this time requiring registration, but Colbert won again. Authorities ignored the outcome and named the bridge something else.
While these stories may seem ridiculous, there is a very real possibility that similar tomfoolery could plague the Liberal vote.
The party has yet to figure out all the details, but supporters will have to sign up and provide registration details, such as an address, that will supposedly allow the party to verify an individual’s identity and whether he or she already belongs to another political party. The Liberals have until March 17 to figure it all out.
But some in the party have already expressed fears the vote could be open to manipulation.
Full Article: Liberal Leadership Online Voting Could Lead To Major Pwnage.