Saturday, March 11, 2017

Still Life with Robin: Want to Influence an Election?

by Peggy Robin

Photo by Architect of the Capitol (public domain)
Had enough of gerrymandering, outside interference in elections, media-planted stories that attempt to sway your vote one way or another? It’s enough to make you wonder whether any election results can be trusted! I’m not here to reassure you -- only to offer you another chance to vote in a contest that is susceptible to various election-rigging schemes. It’s Washingtonian Magazine’s annual “Best of DC 2017” vote:

To give you an idea of the kind of influence-peddling routinely practiced, here’s a snippet from an email I received from Cleveland Park’s own California Tortilla, offering me a nice little kickback for a vote in their favor:
“If We Win DC's Best Tacos, You'll Score One for FREE!*”
[Copy from California Tortilla’s emailed newsletter: received Fri 3/10/2017 10:18 AM]

The polls stay open until March 20th, and the voting’s all online, so you don’t have to mail in a ballot, wait in any lines, or show voter ID. You can vote no matter where you live, even if it’s the other side of the planet. You can vote for places you’ve never actually patronized. And you can vote in all the categories, even if, for example, you don’t really get what a High Intensity Interval Training (HITT) class is. It makes no difference whether you have any knowledge of the categories you’ve voting on. And you can probably vote multiple times, as long as you are not using the same browser and/or same computer to reach the survey. (The poll recognized me and told me I had already voted when I tried to vote again -- but I’m pretty sure I could get around that if I put a small amount of effort into it.)

Sure, it’s only a popularity poll. It’s not as if the winner will be put in charge of the nuclear codes. So have fun with it, and go ahead and support Cal Tort for best tacos. Vote for all the other CP favorites too, You can be sure that establishments in other neighborhoods are encouraging their fans to do the same!


Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

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