Monday, October 30, 2006

Is MLB.com violating polling place ethics to influence an election?

Usually at polling places, pictures or posters of candidates, ie campaign material, are required to remain 100 yards or so from the voting booths. The idea is the voting venue itself is supposed to be level ground, no candidate should be endorsed over another.
  • For the past few hours, the link to vote for a new TYIB recipient got you to a page that advertised one particular candidate for the award, with a caption meant to sell the player to the voter.
The linked article shows only 1 guy, the MLB/government/entrenched money guys' choice.
  • Interestingly, MLB.com has just now added another way to click through to vote on this award that takes you to the voting page, bypassing the publicity page for the 1 candidate. But, if you click on the MLB article about the award, you'll still get the photo of their favorite candidate.
  • The author of the article is listed as a fantasy baseball writer who also writes for MLB blogs. As customary, the disclaimer at the end of the article says "this story not subject to the approval of MLB or its clubs." So, anyone can write whatever they want in these columns. The writer's background/prejudice should always be a factor in these things, so I looked up where he's from. Boston.
  • Some might say oh what difference does it make, but how do you know that? Real voting venues do not allow 1 candidate to campaign or advertise on the front door. In this case, many voters will have been influenced.
When I visited, the last voting page showed all the candidates, with one photo larger than the others. The caption explained that player had been the winner from last year and the year before. PS. Every award, even a modest one, can mean dollars to a player and a team.

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