“University of South Carolina professor hacks Courier-Journal online poll to ‘get the discussion going'”


An unscientific online poll conducted on The Courier-Journal’s website was hacked Thursday by two University of South Carolina students and a professor.

The poll, hosted by Polldaddy, asked website viewers, “Should overseas U.S. military personnel be allowed to vote via the Internet?” It referred to an initiative by Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes to make voting easier for overseas personnel.

Although most respondents had voted “yes” Thursday afternoon, the poll showed 91 percent opposed by the time it was taken down Friday by The Courier-Journal. By that time, the poll had logged 67,121 votes, far more than the 2,000 to 4,000 votes typically recorded by The Courier-Journal’s online polls. Editors said that the purposely skewed results no longer represented the views of the website’s users.

The hacking was overseen by Duncan Buell, a computer science professor at the University of South Carolina who monitors electronic voting.

You can find a related press release at this link. It begins: “Should we take an online vote on the definition of ‘irony’?”


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