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Voter Fraud Ruffles New Zealand ‘Bird Of The Year’ Competition

By Scott Simon and Emma Bowman, NPR

Evidence of election rigging has roiled New Zealand’s “Bird of the Year” competition after a case of ballot-box stuffing has threatened to derail avian democracy.

Suspicion began when organizers received more than 1,500 votes sent from the same email address early Monday — each vote was in favor of the little spotted kiwi (kiwi pukupuku), according to a statement from Forest & Bird, a conservation organization that runs the election.

“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,” Forest & Bird spokeswoman Laura Keown told NPR’s Weekend Edition.

The annual event is more than just a bird popularity contest. The conservation group Forest & Bird runs the election-based competition to help raise awareness about New Zealand’s native bird species, many of which are endangered.

Read all about it here…

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