In a statement to the GS student body, GSSC President Brody Berg expressed skepticism about the results of the NROTC survey, writing that “I believe that this poll result is meaningless due to the huge number of apparently fraudulent votes.” Although almost 2000 fraudulent votes were removed (including one student who voted 276 times) by matching one ID with one vote, Berg expressed skepticism that this strategy was adequate, further noting that “the votes thrown out were done with no supervision.”
“Even though the side I support ‘won,'” he concluded, “due to the huge number of fraudulent votes, myself and the Executive Board of the General Studies Student Council believe both General Studies and the Columbia community at large would be better served on this controversial issue with a poll whose results we can trust.” Earlier in the day, CCSC president George Krebs had expressed confidence in the result, writing in his CCSC email that “Multiple votes were not counted. If a student attempted to vote multiple times, only the last vote they cast was counted.”
Bwog notes that many of the multiple results probably came from students sharing links with each other, as occurred with the Democrats (who sent a listserve email with one person’s link) and Bwog itself. If the last vote was counted, then the last person to use that link would be the one whose vote counted. In addition, questions about the ability to use others’ links and “hack the survey” remain unanswered.
Berg’s full e-mail after the jump. Bwog thinks this issue may not be over.
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen of General Studies,
The results of the NROTC Survey given to General Studies, Columbia College and the School of Engineering are in:
- 6913 email invitations
- 2971 valid votes (43% of the population)
- 1463 Yes (“Bring NROTC to campus)
- 1502 No (“Don’t bring NROTC to campus)
- 6 abstain
But here is where it gets interesting:
- 4905 votes were recorded
- One person voted 276 times
- And “after eliminating the duplicates and matching the unique IDs with our records, 2971 unduplicated votes are determined as “valid.”
(All this information is from Columbia College SDA Advisor David Cheng)
What this means is that there were nearly 2000 votes thrown out of a race decided by only 39 total votes. More votes were thrown out than the individual size of three out of the four colleges in the survey. Furthermore, the votes thrown out were done with no supervision and with a fraud detection strategy only as good as “eliminating duplicates and matching unique IDs.”
Now, let me be clear, even though I personally voted No, I believe that this poll result is meaningless due to the huge number of apparently fraudulent votes. I say this out of common sense and because, as a software industry veteran of 10 years and senior in the Computer Science department. My professional gut feeling tells me that a significant number of fraudulent votes may not have been removed.
I was quoted in the Columbia Spectator on September 26th saying “My number one thing from the very beginning was to assess student opinion on NROTC in a fair manner.” In the General Studies student body we are proud to have a lot of students on both sides of this issue. Even though the side I support “won”, due to the huge number of fraudulent votes, myself and the Executive Board of the General Studies Student Council believe both General Studies and the Columbia community at large would be better served on this controversial issue with a poll whose results we can trust.
Thanks, and stay tuned,
Student Body President
General Studies Student Council 2008-09