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MIT hackes Doonesbury college poll to get win

The “Doonesbury” poll to determine where “Doonesbury” character Alex should go to college was the target of hacking from students of the prospective schools.  More than 175,000 votes were cast – it’s unsure how many of those are legitimate.

MIT lead the way in hacking and took approximately 48% of the vote; Rensselaer also engaged in hacking efforts to garner 32% of the vote and Cornell, who took the high road received 19% of the final vote.

Quoting from an article posted on Universal Press‘ web site that first appeared in E&P which heavily quotes from Doonesbury.com we have this:

Voting was insane, rampant, ingenious, and impressively ruthless. An MIT student put up ‘Doonesbury Voting Hack,’ a Web site (adorned with art borrowed from the Town Hall) which enabled would-be-ballot-stuffers to spew out over a million votes in a single night. ‘We’re all running cgi hack scripts,’ lol’d one MIT blogger. ‘I’ve voted 3 or 4 thousand times!’ Fortunately the prophylactic measures swiftly implemented by the Doonesbury Town Hall crack tech crew kept most of the votes from making it into the poll.

“Meanwhile, Rennselaer had also stepped up to the plate — or rather made their own attempt to move it. As campus blog entries indicate, token reservations were overcome … and a curl was disseminated, intended to accomplish pretty much what the MIT script had done using Flash. The Rensselaer effort was less successful — still, several hundred thousand votes bounced off our servers. By the time a handful of indy hackers made their run at the Straw Poll, the ballot box was adequately unstuffable.

“Cornell blogage shows that students there were watching the fray. … The Cornell alumni office had early-on taken an above-board interest, alerting alums to the situation and urging them to vote, but this effort did not bring Cornellians to the poll in numbers sufficient for Big Red to catch up. ‘We’re obviously not trying hard enough to cheat,’ lamented a dismayed blogger. However, students and alums managed to post many passionate, articulate, humorous, and convincing posts on our Blowback page, all making the case that Alex should head to Ithaca. In acknowledgement of this impressive and moving effort, the Doonesbury Town Hall is pleased to award Cornell the Doonesbury Straw Poll Congeniality Award.”

It appears, despite the shenanigans, Alex will be attending MIT.

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