I am not a South African blogger myself but having strong ties to one, I keep an eye on the yearly South African Blog Awards and dutifully cast my vote when the time comes.

This year, however, I was stunned to discover a new twist in the voting system: for some unfathomable reason, organizers have decided to allow people to vote every 24 hours. Yes, you read this right. You can vote now, wait a day, and vote again. And again. And again. So here is a copy of the email I just sent them’ fine folks:

Dear All Mighty South African Blog Awards Organizers,

What on Earth has happened here? Voting is now allowed once per 24 hours??? I think you have just made sure that the 2010 South African Blog Awards will be biased – not to say flawed and even possibly rigged.

With the new 24-hour system, you are simply insuring that whoever can muster enough repeat voters, will win. This is no longer a vote cast by the many (most blog readers could not be bothered to vote more than once, or to actually keep track of their clock in order to put in their vote again after 24:01) but rather most likely a calculated operation ran by the few who have the available resources.

To push things one theoretical step further, I’d say bribes are likely and people could be enlisted to tilt the balance of voting by throwing in additional votes each day.

Let’s say that Blog A has good traffic and because of its quality, a decent number of honest followers (let’s say 100) who will each cast a vote and then assume their duty has ended, either having missed the 24-hour trick or unwilling to spend the time to vote once more, or twice more, or each day until the end of the voting phase.

Blog B, on the other hand, is crappy, full of advertising, poorly written and only manages some 20 followers, 75% of whom will cast a vote. Yet with 17 days to go, if Blog B recruits only 10 extra voters who will each cast a daily vote, by the closing of the votes it will have an approximate total of 185 votes against the 100 of Blog A. Blog B wins.

Am I missing something here? Since when is the process of voting a multiple-opportunity game? You know what would happen if we allowed our political system to match this scheme: exponential corruption and systematic bribery on a cosmic scale. Has this also happened to the South African Blog Awards?

Why not allow finalists to buy votes, while we’re at it?