Well, this is embarrassing. Earlier on Saturday, I got on my soapbox and proclaimed that widespread voter fraud is NOT a thing. I was wrong.
Kind of. There remains no extensive voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election — Donald Trump lost, President-elect Joe Biden won. Only isolated examples, including a pair of cases in Pennsylvania alleging fraud on the part of two Trump voters.
However! There seems to have been some fishy voting in New Zealand’s “Bird of the Year” election. So that’s something.
The little spotted kiwi, or the kiwi pukupuku, got a sudden inrush of 1,500 votes all from the same email address on Monday.
“It’s lucky we spotted this little kiwi trying to sneak in an extra 1500 votes under the cover of darkness!” said Laura Keown, a spokesperson for the conservation group called Forest & Bird that runs the contest, in a statement. “But they’ll have to play by the rules like all of the other birds to win the competition.”
It’s worth pausing here to note, by the way, that 1,500 votes wouldn’t flip a single key state in which Trump is behind.
Keown said the suspicious votes were tossed.
“That is an amazing bird — it deserves all the support, but unfortunately these votes had to be disallowed and they’ve been taken out of the competition,” Keown told NPR.
The voting continues through Sunday, so the little bird still has a shot at winning. The vote is apparently a pretty big deal in New Zealand — the idea is to raise awareness of endangered birds — and Prime Minister Jacinda Arden has lent her support to the black petrel, a medium-sized seabird.
While the U.S. presidential election is ugly and full of vitriol, thanks in large part to President Trump’s refusal to accept the results, the Bird of the Year vote seems quite pleasant. The little spotted kiwi’s campaign manager — yes, that is a thing — said in a statement they didn’t support the effort to stuff the ballot box for their candidate.
“Voter fraud is not the kiwi way,” Emma Rawson said. “As Aotearoa’s national emblem, little-spotted kiwi represents New Zealanders’ values of democracy, fairness, equality, and honesty. We don’t condone the illegal votes cast towards our cute little bird.”