You’ve had it happen frequently–a friend asks you to vote for his dog, song, design, story, or dance so he can win a prize. You go to vote, because your friend is, well, your friend. When you arrive at the voting place, your friend’s entry is clearly not the best. Do you still support your friend?
Well, that’s what friends are for, right? I’m having some trouble with this. If the competition is for talent or skill, is it fair to turn it into a popularity contest? Wouldn’t it be easier to call it that, and eliminate the red herring of a talent contest?
A few months ago, the Desert Botanical Garden sponsored a free wedding, much like the Today show does. And, just as happens on the Today show, the bride and groom enlisted their friends who have time and can vote multiple times. The public vote was supposed to choose the “deserving” couple, but we know from the beginning that the couple with the most friend and family members are going to enlist the gang to vote for them. Even a simple switch to make it possible to vote only once would help even the odds.
To me is seems like a wink and a nod at cheating, at encouraging people to enlist their friends to help them win something that may not be theirs–and while I don’t mind the weddings, it does bother me when talent is involved. What do you think? Is enlisting your friends to swing the vote the American way, or is it unethical?
–Quinn McDonald is a writer, artist and creativity coach who spends a lot of time wondering about ethical dilemmas when two right choices are involved–it’s fine to support your friends, but it’s also fine to want your vote to go to the top talent.