Doherty Wins Girard at Large Manchester Area Person of the Year Poll 

Posted at 10 AM on January 10, 2013


Multiple vote screens designed to weed out illegitimate votes determined winner.  Bouldin withdraws from contest.

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Manchester Police Officer Dan Doherty came out ahead of Shire Sharing foundress Amanda Bouldin in the Girard at Large Manchester Area Person of the Year Poll.  Show host Rich Girard announced the results on this morning’s show during the 7 o’clock hour.

The poll took on a life of its own as local, state and national Free State and law enforcement groups battled to support their group’s adherent.  The competition got nasty on the Web as some in both camps called names and made other derogatory comments about the other to spur their sides to action.  The furor over the poll caused WMUR Channel 9, New Hampshire’s only network affiliated TV Station to broadcast a story on Tuesday, January 8, and the New Hampshire Union Leader, New Hampshire’s only statewide newspaper, to write a story that was published today.

Almost 44,000 votes, 43,769 to be exact, were cast in the poll.  Twenty two thousand visitors made a total of 26,000 visits in the week the poll was on line, according to Google Analytics.  The last 36 hours of the poll experienced particularly heavy voting.  At one point, the site experienced more than 2,000 visits in one hour.  Vote totals jumped as both sides furiously tried to put their candidate over the top in a see saw contest that saw each candidate gain and lose the lead on multiple occasions.

Girard at Large pulled the poll for about 30 to 45 minutes on Monday, concerned that automated programs were spamming the poll.  Girard decided to repost the poll after receiving numberous individual emails requesting their vote be counted for one party or the other or complaining that they were not able to vote.  Surprised by the volume of email, and the 400 hits to the memo explaining why the poll was closed, Girard reopened the poll and kept it open until its advertised Midnight closing time on Monday.

Sorting through the data was an arduous task, but with the help of a database expert recommended by Bouldin, Girard was able to conclude that Doherty had won.  Several different formulas were created and run to screen the data to find the best way to count the legitimately cast votes and exclude the automated votes.  The real challenge became how to separate the good votes from the bad ones where multiple votes came from the same or blocked IP addresses.  While the numbers varied with each formula, Doherty had the most votes in all formulas used.

Girard at Large will not release a final vote tally as it is simply not possible to determine one with any degree of confidence.  We could not determine the winning number of votes or the margin of victory because the multiple formulas we ran all produced different results.  Doherty, however, was determined the winner because, regardless of the numbers, he’d always finished first.  We can also say that the 22,000 unique visitors recorded by Google on our site were legit.  Was there “massive fraud?”  We don’t think so given the numbers.

Doherty was nominated by Dr. Jeffrey Czarnec, retired Manchester police officer, and anchor of our Public Safety Issue of the Week segment.  Czarnec said he nominated Doherty not necessarily because he was shot, but because of his inspirational attitude and actions while recovering.  Bouldin, a self described “Free Stater,” was nominated by multiple listeners, including Manchester Ward 10 Alderman Phil Greazzo, for founding Shire Sharing, an all volunteer organization that has helped hundreds of families with food and dozens of homeless job seekers with supplies, among other causes.

In a facebook message to Girard, Bouldin withdrew from the contest saying she imagined “the intent of this award is to draw the community together and shine a light on the kind of impact even one person can have. Unfortunately it’s just become divisive and I believe that detracts from the original intent.”  We did not see her withdrawal prior to completing our database review.

All nominees were submitted by members of the Girard at Large Audience.