8. May 2008: The Second Anniversary of the Formation of the
Villages of the Darned
Rigging the Election to Keep the Cronies on the Board
8.3 Rigging the Election Brochure
Elections, even for a farce such as the Villages of the Darned, are always scrutinized for 'fairness". Issues of "who is first", positioning of statements, etc, can be determining factors in a close election.
The County Bureaucrat, VJG, either with malicious intent or just stumbling, managed to do a number of things to make sure the "outsider" was at as big a disadvantage as possible.
In this section, to help others understand how to do this dastardly type of deed, we will review the subtle biases that VJG incorporated into the only information available to the voting citizens:
the one page "election brochure".
8.3.1 First, put the upstart on the back
The Brochure was a tri-fold. When opened, the 4 incumbent cronies' statements were visible and the Community Citizen's statement was on the back. Here are scans of the two sides (click to enlarge):
Looking at the vote totals, the first crony got the most, the second crony got the second most, the last crony on the page got the 3rd most, and the 3rd crony got the next. The poor Community Citizen, stuck on the back of the page, like an after thought in an already prepared document, got the least (by a small margin).
It is the "small margin" that likely was biased by the layout, which, of course, also was biased against the third crony (but at least he wasn't on the back).
8.3.2 Second, the Font Size
To add insult to injury, VJG arranged to make the Community Citizen's statement be in a smaller font size than all the others! This seem to be, of course, pretty dastardly and conniving, but is easy to do and few will consciously notice the demeaning of the Community Citizen's item.
But this will cause damage as it makes the statement slightly harder to read... should anyone actually glance at the back of the page.
8.3.3 Third, Truncate the Statement, Don't Advise, and Please, Call it "Editing"...
Finally, the guidelines allow statements of 150 words. In previous elections, VJG worked with candidates to trim down to this size (a future section will look at the hilarity of one person who played games with non-expandable spaces to make Word count two words as one :-).
In the case of the Community Citizen, the County Bureaucrat, VJG, "edited" the statement by cutting off the end to leaving it hanging.
The Community Citizen, having only found out about how to submit an application at the last minute and having to rush one in, likely forgot to count the words.
A supportive County Employee would, like in previous elections, bring this to the person's attention and work with them on fixing it.... unless they wanted to get as much bias as possible.
8.3.4 Bottom Line: 4 Steps to Biasing an Election Brochure
Small biases can be an "elected or not elected" item and here the vote totals pretty much matched the biases. If you want to help your cause by rigging the election and you have brochure like this, then by all means:
- make sure the order of candidates puts your top people first and last on the page,
- hide the people you want to lose on a second page (or the back),
- use a slightly smaller type font to further diminish the candidacy,
- if possible, mess up their statements in any way you can find!
Yes, you too can rig an election!
8.3 Rigging the Election Brochure