Thursday, July 25, 2013 (Halifax, NS) – Due to the submission of thousands of invalid responses, the results from a recent online poll are inconclusive in deciding which street in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) will get a main street makeover.
The online poll, which ran from July 8-19, was hosted by HRM on its website to help identify the ‘people’s choice’ to receive a three-block paint makeover, courtesy of Benjamin Moore as part of its Main Street Makeover project.
Respondents were asked to vote once every 24 hours for their favourite street. But after the online poll closed, a close analysis of data by HRM staff revealed the potential for a significant number of unacceptable responses. Of the more than 40,000 responses to the poll it is estimated as many as 9,600 were improperly generated. There is no way to determine how these invalid responses were distributed amongst the 12 candidate streets so it is impossible to declare a winner of the poll.
The goal of HRM in using the online poll was to engage the local community and give residents a say in determining which main street should receive the paint makeover. With that in mind, a web-based option was selected from HRM’s existing suite of online tools that made it easy for citizens to provide input without using public funds for a poll.
Unfortunately, the same characteristics that made the online poll more accessible and user-friendly also made it more susceptible to those who don’t play by the rules.
While it was anticipated there might be some anomalies that would later be accounted for in the data, there was no expectation a concerted effort would be taken by anyone to submit thousands of invalid responses.
The actions of one or more anonymous individuals undermined HRM’s efforts to determine the people’s choice for a main street makeover. However, the municipality is mindful that it’s very fortunate to have been selected as one of only three locations in Canada to receive a main street makeover from Benjamin Moore. It was clear throughout this initiative that residents took tremendous pride in all their main streets, showing strong support through call-in radio shows, social media, and word of mouth.
Moving forward, the 12 streets originally short-listed by HRM’s eight Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) for a fresh coat of paint will now be forwarded to Benjamin Moore for final consideration.
While the online poll could not be used to identify the people’s choice, HRM would like to acknowledge the efforts of the BIDs and, in particular, the thousands of residents and fans that shared their sense of pride in our community.
Brendan Elliott HRM Communications 490-2377
Source: HRM Release