License plate vote is a cautionary tale

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

So it turns out the fix was in after all.

In hindsight, state officials in charge of selection of Nebraska's new license plate design definitely underestimated the power of the Internet.

The plain-jane plate design was crowned winner last week with official assurance that, no, collegehumor.com's link to Nebraska's Web site, urging visitors to vote for the most boring design didn't skew the online voting.

After a second look at the raw data -- prodded by the Omaha World-Herald -- officials had to admit that, yes, the Web site had stolen the "election."

After collegehumor.com's votes were thrown out, instead of the fading-gray with red and black letters, Nebraska cars will sport a more traditional bird-and-flower design.

While the controversy probably did more good than harm for the state, bringing Nebraska some light-hearted publicity, the whole exercise should serve as a cautionary tale for anyone planning to use the Internet for more serious purposes such as actual voting.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: