The main story on the front page of the Wokingham Times caused some amusement today. If you live locally you may be aware of an ongoing local issue over a proposed move by the local football club to Cantley Park. As part of the move, they are proposing to build a 250 seat stand for the supporters. On the one hand you have Cantley residents who are objecting to the move, and particularly the seating as it will bring an increase in traffic to their area, and on the other you have people involved with the football club arguing that the local residents are overeacting.
Anyway, as their contribution to the issue, the Wokingham Times has been running a web poll on their website to guage opinion for and against the proposal, the intention being to publish the results. However, their web polling functionality is not exactly advanced, and certainly not secure – indeed anybody with cookies disabled will be able to vote multiple times. Needless to say, that is precisely what has happened. For the ‘Yes’ campaign there have been a number of multiple voters, with the most being 80 from one user. However the prize goes to someone who used their corporate Blackberry to vote ‘No’ a grand total of 664 times.
As a result, the Wokingham Times has replaced their story giving the results with a general grumble about web cheats, and not surprisingly declaring the vote null and void. Having said that, aside from being a lesson in the reliability of web polls as a guage of public opinion, what it does show is quite what strength of feeling there is over the issue on both sides.