It’s not an easy job making sure people vote correctly and officials count the votes properly. Mistakes happen all the time, but the stakes are high for many elections. New Zealand’s Bird of the Year vote is an online election that allows people to vote for their favorite bird. Of course, the candidates are all birds and some, like the little spotted kiwi, are actually extinct on the island. There are dozens of candidates, and each candidacy is an opportunity for New Zealanders to learn a bit about the bird. This year, the yellow-eyed penguin, the winner from 2019, is fighting reelection against the likes of the kiwi and the toroa.
When 1,500 votes came in all at once for the kiwi, election officials were scratching their heads. Using vote-tracking techniques, officials found out that all the votes came from the same internet address, indicating that these votes were likely to be fraudulent (each resident is only allowed to vote once.)
No election is too big or too small to play fair. The election spokesperson, Laura Keown, said, “The little spotted kiwi represents New Zealanders’ values of democracy, fairness, equality, and honesty.” Hopefully, the right candidate wins fair and square!
After all the votes were counted, the Kākāpō, a bird that’s known as the mighty moss chicken to New Zealanders, beat out the competition to take the top prize of Bird of the Year. The Kākāpō is the only bird that has been recognized more than once as New Zealand’s Bird of the Year.