Omar Campbell: Online poll was rigged

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During the week of June 14 to 21, Steamboatpilot.com's Question of the Week asked, "If it were put to a public vote today, would you support annexing the proposed Steamboat 700 development into city limits?"

I have a printout from the Pilot's Web site for June 17 to 20. It is a sequence of votes cast during 19 time intervals. Before June 19, the voting had flowed evenly enough - ranging from 0 to 13 votes for "yes," and 0 to 14 votes for "no." There were the usual fluctuations in total votes, with the "yes" votes mostly ahead.

On June 19, the "yes" led by only nine votes (227 to 218). At noon on June 19, the "yes" votes suddenly surged to 30. At 2:47 p.m. the same day, 34 votes were recorded. At 5:12 p.m. the same day, 20 more were cast - total of 84 votes in about four hours.

I have spent hours studying the time sequences and talking to computer-savvy friends. Here is my conclusion:

Some growth advocate(s) figured out that the "cookie" (a blocker in the computer program that limits voting to once per computer) could be deleted. This allowed an infinite number of votes to be cast from the same machine. Noting that "no" votes were closing on "yes" votes, he/she/they surged the "yes" votes to assure a significant lead. Clumsily, I might add.

The result of the poll, published on June 21, was 55 percent "yes" and 45 percent "no" - about a 10-point lead because of the electronic stuffing of the ballot box. Removing the 84-vote surge shows a statistical dead-heat; in fact, the "no" vote leads by a small fraction of 1 percent.

I know that the poll is not statistically accurate, yet it does create a perception with some people that it is meaningful.

Because our local elected officials are very important in the annexation and growth-control process, I want them to know this particular vote is a sham.

Who did it? Follow the money trail.

Yours for a public vote on annexation,

Omar Campbell

Steamboat Springs

Comments

Chad James 5 years, 5 months ago

Kudos to Danny for providing some FACTS! Great job, Danny!

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Chad James 5 years, 5 months ago

Dear Steamboat Pilot and Today... did you really publish this?

This is a shameful allegation of cheating that could in fact lead to a libel claim.

Are you SERIOUSLY putting this garbage in your paper?

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 5 months ago

At the very least, Omar claims to have found a way for someone to vote multiple times from the same computer. Pilot should say if that method would work and if they also noticed the two times in which Omar said many votes were cast in a very short time.

Online polls are obviously not scientific and the results should not be taken seriously. I don't see how anyone could claim that their reputation was hurt by claims an online poll was inaccurate.

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freerider 5 years, 5 months ago

If that's true and it probably is then this speaks loudly of how the 700 club plans to do business here in Steamboat...I am not a fan of this development . It's bad planning . Nobody has an answer for the traffic problem ...not one intelligent solution had been put on the table..the developers and council members will be long gone when the next bunch of idiots will be trying to fix it...

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bubba 5 years, 5 months ago

First of all, Omar has succeeded only in highlighting one of the many reasons that a voluntary on-line survey is worth no more than the paper it is printed on. (Get it?)

Second of all, a surge of people voting all at once is by no means evidence of rigging a vote, especially if those surges happen around noon and five, which are incidentally when people who work at computers catch up on the outside world (i.e. lunch and right before going home).

Thirdly, using Mr Campbell's numbers, if 84 votes were cast in that timeframe, bringing the ratio from 51/49 to 55/45, this implies that 36 or 37 people voted the other way in that same period of time, or that 70% of the people who voted were 'nays' and 30% 'yeas.' This is certainly not an extraordinary turn of events, given the result of the poll (before and after the alleged infraction), and makes his whole assertion mathematically foolish. Of course, people who are opposed to this development already, aka freerider 'if that's true and it probably is' will use this article as evidence that the developers are bad people, which I am sure was Mr Campbell's intent.

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goremtn 5 years, 5 months ago

Elementary, my dear Omar, you have cracked the case wide open. And 'follow the money'?....Where? to the Rifle Club right on US40 (Omar is a member, methinks), where the property value has skyrocketed with the approaching developments on the west side of town? Give me a break.

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danny 5 years, 5 months ago

Freerider-

Have you ever asked yourself why the traffic is so bad on the west end of town? It's not because of SB 700; it's because the people who work in Steamboat don't have a place to live in Steamboat. If there was housing, a grocery store, daycare, post office facilities, office space, parks, and recreation opportunities on the west end of town not as many people would have to drive to or through town everyday.

SB 700 is a opportunity to do nearly all of the aforementioned.

What specifically are we doing to solve the problem?

*We (SB700) are paying nearly million dollars for a US 40 study that needed to be done with or without our development and is necessary to do any improvements to a US highway. A study that should have been done years ago.(we are paying for this right now without any guarantees of annexation). The preferred improvements were presented to the public at city council a week ago(http://www.us40west.com/)

*We (SB700) have proposed to pay for nearly all of the widening of the US40 from 13th to CR129 and the new intersections at CR129 &US40. This cash infusion of $5.5 Million should enable the City to get some level of matching funds from the State. (these matching funds will not be need for 10 or more years)

*we are building parallel capacity from CR 42 to CR129; New Victory Pkwy.

*We are extending the transit services out to Steamboat II(buying buses providing heated shelters, bike racks, parking, lockers, and restrooms)

*We are providing bike lanes( from CR42 to 13th on New victory parkway and US 40)

*We are providing a connection to the core trail with a US40 underpass.

Money has never been the problem with the Bottleneck, the community has been arguing about how and what to do with that problem for 20 years. And just because the road gets wider up to that point and can handle more traffic doesn't mean there is more traffic; it's the same amount of trafffic. Once there are four lanes from CR129 to Mt Werner how bad is the bottleneck?

Limiting the growth, as opposed to managing and planning for growth, over the last 10 to 20 years has put more traffic on our roads, taken away agricultural land and open space, effected the wildlife patterns, polluted the valley with more noise and carbon, and doubled the price of housing in Milner, Hayden, Hahns Peak and stage coach. The "attainable" housing in silver spur even reached a climax of a million dollars last year.

Even if you stopped growth in Steamboat there is nothing you can do to stop demand, but if you stop growth the only people who will be able to afford to live here will be the wealthly.

The communty has a transportation solutions group that meets atleast once a month- this is where community members come together to try to solve the problem instead of preaching from the couch. I am a member- are you?

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danny 5 years, 5 months ago

As always please feel free to email Dmulcahy@steamboat700.com, call (970-846-2192 cell), visit our website http://www.steamboat700.com/ or meet with me(345 lincoln Ave. #206) if you have questions or would like more information.

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trump_suit 5 years, 5 months ago

Brent, Surely your IT staff can come up with some statistics that will prove or disprove Omar's statements. You don;t have to release any specifics, but you could tell us whether or not the IP logs look suspicious during this timeframe.

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