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,