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Whining About Voting Irregularities

no-whiningAt InterAm last month, I heard reports of voting irregularities. The hashers who complained alleged that the people manning the Savannah bid table in the haberdashery area on Friday and Saturday were collecting attendees’ ballots, marking them in favor of Savannah, and putting them into the ballot box. They weren’t sure that all the hashers who handed over their ballots understood that they were in fact signing over their votes to Savannah; in any case, the venue bid presentations by Honolulu and Savannah weren’t even scheduled until Saturday evening. Several hashers took their complaints to members of the InterAm mismanagement committee.

But on Sunday evening, when Savannah was named host for InterAm 2011, the mismanagement representative who took the stage to make the announcement merely said there’d been “some whining” about the vote, making it clear that organizers hadn’t taken the complaints, or the complainers, seriously, blowing off what many thought were significant problems with the voting.

It was pretty clear to me that InterAm organizers — and certainly most hashers in attendance — had made up their minds on Savannah at least a day before either Savannah and Honolulu (and Rumson, for that matter) had a chance to state their cases. It didn’t help that Honolulu fucked up its presentation, but I think they’d lost the vote long before that.

If I may, two whinges of my own:

One, if voting’s going to be open prior to bid presentations, why bother to have presentations? Why not just announce the bidding venues on the current InterAm rego site and let hashers vote for the location of the next InterAm when they sign up for the current one?

Two, I don’t think event organizers should ever disregard complaints of voting irregularities. The men and women who observed and reported the irregularities were seasoned, mature hashers, some of whom had organized previous InterAms. At the very least their concerns should have been specifically addressed when the winning bid was announced, not belittled and blown off as “whining.” In my opinion, the ballots, once they had been called into question, should have been thrown out and a hand count taken after Saturday night’s bid presentations.

The whole thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It was handled poorly, making it look like the fix was in. We can do better.

- Flying Booger

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