Protecting the Halo!

February 27, 2012
Tim Schenck

What's an election without a bit of controversy? The Supreme Executive Committee of the Province of Lent Madness (aka Tim and Scott) has discovered that a few among us have been abusing the system by casting more than a handful of votes. Okay, it was Scott. He of the "I-used-to-work-for-IBM-before-I-became-a-priest" pedigree. Plus, he's naturally distrustful of humanity.

Rest assured this has not affected the final outcome of any of the match-ups. But it has caused us to consider a loose policy on the issue. Basically, in order to protect the integrity of Lent Madness we're asking you to vote once. If you can't restrain your passion and have access to an extra computer or mobile device, we can overlook your enthusiasm. But, unless you're Bill Gates (saint or devil depending on your perspective), you likely don't have 17 computers.

I'll take some responsibility for this phenomenon because at one point I wrote a throw away line (I'm full of these) on our Facebook page that "All's fair in love and Lent Madness." Of course I also wrote on the "About Lent Madness" page: "We hope you’ll participate fully this Lent and vote with reckless abandon! (Once — this isn’t Chicago)." To which Diocese of Chicago priest and blogger Cynthia Hallas responded "Actually, Tim, for some of us this is Chicago." Fair enough.

So what happens if you abuse the system? Several people have had their access to the Lent Madness site revoked. This is obviously not what we want to do. Since this is a season of forgiveness, we have heard the e-mail pleas of those repenting of their actions and promising amendment of life and have reinstated them.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, referring to the NFL logo, speaks often about "protecting the shield." We are here to "Protect the Halo." Plus we're against concussions.

We hope you're enjoying Lent Madness thus far and we absolutely encourage partisanship. Rather than multiple votes, however, we encourage outlandish campaigning and even mud slinging ("All's fair," remember). And perhaps next year we'll include St. (Hanging) Chad of Lichfield.




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38 comments on “Protecting the Halo!”

  1. Did the Supreme Court rule that Lent Madness is a person and had the right to extra votes and even PACs? Is Scott a Super PAC fan of the Supreme Court?

    1. I am only a Super PAC fan when it is my Super PAC and I'm getting to spend the money on my whims. So, yes, if there were a Lent Madness Super PAC, I would like it.

  2. How far we have descended! I'm sure that Ephrem did not stuff the ballot box at Nicea (but not so sure about some of Thomas' actions).

  3. T'would be nice to have a thoroughly honest election, but we'd be naive to think no one would meddle with the system. Between now and next LM maybe a "techy" somewhere can devise a way to banish early and repeat voters, even if it is the reputation of Louisiana and a few other locales. Maybe a graphic that shows on the screen and burns the offender at the stake, or worse.

  4. HMMM!!!--It seems that everything starts off as religion and ends up as politics--shame on those who are stuffing the ballot boxes--Shades of James Michael

  5. Frankly, I was wondering about yesterday's contest. The previous two seemed pretty consistent in their percentages for the whole contests, varying by just a few percentage points. Yesterday's contest started with a pretty consistent lead by one of the candidates, which stayed that way for much of the day and then the percentages changed pretty drastically.

    This site is set up that ostensibly a computer can vote only once for each election. But it doesn't take a lot of technical savvy to know how to get around that. I tested the system of the first day out of curiousity to see how secure it was -- it isn't (but did NOT vote more than once!). It's sort of disappointing to see that the system has been abused.

    If you're going to forgive, I hope you imposed a suitable penance on the offenders since this is Lent after all -- maybe, typing out the Ash Wednesday Litany of Penance 100 times in appropriately churchy font (EnglishTowne-Normal would seem particuarly appropriate) -- no cutting and pasting allowed!

    1. Hi Dr. Primrose,
      Some of us techies have about seven or eight browsers open on our desktop at any given time...that's how we discovered the fact that the ability to vote rested with the browser, not with the individual computer. I was not aware that Scott had worked for much for that style of voting.
      And yes, I have repented in dust and should see my stylish sackcloth outfit 🙂

    2. Oakenhater's lead diminishing was MOSTLY because people in the US voted earlier... and for some reason he was much more popular with Americans...

  6. Rest assured that Big Brother (who knew he was a monk?) is now paying close attention. From the BCP: "Lent Madness is also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of Lent Madness." And God "pardons and absolves all those who truly
    repent, and with sincere hearts believe in Lent Madness."

    This is in no way, shape, or form an endorsement in the current match-up.

  7. One vote per day per person is fair. For future contests, you may need to add some security.
    Animal Rescue Site has that limitation in place for their "Click to give free food" (to shelter pets); just one click per day per computer. Their site has an additional captcha requirement for voting in the Shelter Contest (vote, then type in some letters and numbers that appear).
    Visit to see this process in action (try the purple button. Then click on the tab that says Shelter Challenge to see the captcha. )
    Visit for your free captcha (not to be confused with a cathecism)
    Erla of Raleigh

  8. I am having trouble voting. I make my selection & click vote but nothing happens to confirm that it has gone thru. this has happen each time, i truly don't understand what the problem is

  9. Theresa, once you click on the small round circle next to your choice you then click on "vote." Once that happens the current results should appear. This is the indication that the vote "took." Hopefully that's what happened the first time. I haven't heard any other reports of voting glitches -- any one else out there having trouble?

    1. Yes, I've had the same problem of no confirmation of a vote. . . and no I did NOT hit vote more than once!

  10. Theresa - I had the same trouble until someone pointed out that you have to go the bottom of the original e-mail and click the link - that will take you to the next page, which repeats the info from the first e-mail and at the bottom are two buttons where you can vote for your favorite saint. And, there is a results tab where you and see how the voting is going. Hint to the powers that be -- Instructions could have been included the first day for those of us who are not tech-savvy. Now that I know what I'm doing -- enjoying every moment and lobbying for every deacon in the running!

  11. There was Eden...and then there was what happened next. Sigh. Twas ever thus, as grandma would say.

    Since we're apparently already advocating e-shunning and the virtual burning of miscreants (please, let's not) may I add some e-finger-pointing? I would like to blame the Satan of Popular Culture for some of this, for confusing people with all those TV shows where you are SUPPOSED to vote multiple times.

    No, I'm not a multiple voter. In fact, thanks to twitchy mouse finger, I think my first vote in LM 2012 was for neither candidate - a vote registered despite no circle being selected. Yes, people can find all sorts of ways to mess up any system - something I'm sure Scott knows well from BOTH his vocations.

    Good luck, Supreme Executive Committee! It can be very hard to design a workable system that accommodates human freedom and the ability to make choices (God knows).

  12. I'm with Liz. It took me fiddling around to find out that I needed to go to the next page to vote. Instructions please for next year.
    It was hard enough for me to figure out how to vote once---no way could I figure out how to vote twice, even if I wanted to vote twice, which I did not and do not. Once, when I really liked both choices equally, I almost didn't vote, but I'm sure that is within the rules??????
    Too much fun. Thanks Supreme Executive Committee!!!!!

  13. Scott -- and @Theresa -- I have had the same problem...there was no place to vote! but I find if I go to the bottom of the page and click on the URL thingee, I wind up on another page that looks exactly like the page I got in the email EXCEPT there are two little buttons and I get to click one and also get to see the results as they stand at that moment.

    Re: multiple votes -- I had wondered about that and was tempted to try it out via holy hacking trials but decided I would only vote once to be fair -- such a squeaky clean priest! Do I get a few stars in my heavenly crown?

  14. Dear Tim of the Supreme Executiveness, I see from this photo that even the polling place in the cemetery gives out stickers after voting. Just sayin'...

  15. Actually, this voter fraud thing has made me realize that it would not be a good idea to put weighty matters to a parish vote on line. We may be heading in that direction. I will advise against.

    People would only stuff the ballot box if they really cared about a saint, so maybe that's a silver lining. No? OK. Vote once people. Would your favorite saint really want you to cheat?

    1. There are plenty of ways to guarantee a secure online vote -- and to make an online voting system more tamper-resistant than a typical parish election. However, those systems would require individual registration, and for Lent Madness we want to keep it simple.

      If your parish is considering online voting, I salute you. Just make sure you have adequate security in place. It's not complicated, really.

      That said, as a former rector, I tend to think that people should be physically present in parish votes, to hear discussion and to manifest community. Not that you asked.

  16. Just for the record, it won't even let me vote this week ( using an iPad). It just keeps cycling and won't take the vote. Hopefully this isn't what you are counting as multiple votes...

    1. Hi Jan,

      Sorry you had trouble voting on your iPad. There seems to be a bug in Onswipe, the plugin that reformats the blog to look pretty on iPads. I've disabled that plugin, and voting seems to work now. Let me know if you have success.

      And, no, I checked. There were no votes from you in today's contest. So you still get a vote!

  17. It took a day or two until I figured out there is a ballot at the bottom of page two. Prior to that discovery, I announced my vote in the comments box.
    But, I've grown; I know how to cast my vote.
    I had considered the possibility of voting for both David Oakerhater AND Martin of Porres on day 2. However, the word "choice" popped up, as in make a choice. A choice. Also, a fragment of a verse floated through my mind; something about God not being fond of the lukewarm...(He spits the lukewarm out of his mouth.) Say "aye" or "nay", but not "whatever".
    Steep learning curve in Lent Madness. I've mastered the voting process, I think. Now my focus is learning the lives of the Saints. Great & holy fun !
    Is anyone calling this timely discipline: Lenten Madness? (rather than Lent Madness)

  18. Appalling! I have to confess I had some questions about the integrity of these results, based on my experience as an election professional in Bosnia, Kosovo, Belarus and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Perhaps it is time to consider bringing in international observation teams to over see these elections and ensure good practice and transparency. On another note, based on my eastern European election adventures, it seems to me that the absence of saints of the Eastern Church is noteworthy. Where, for example, is St. Barbara?

  19. I encouraged my congregation to vote early and vote often! So I was kind of bummed when I saw that one required multiple computers to do so. Further bummed when I discovered the I cannot seem to vote on my iPad at all. . . .Ah, well. You follow the rubrics your way, and I will follow them my way.

  20. It's a little bit hazy to me too - if you share a computer and more than one person wants to vote I guess you can't really do it? Or shouldn't really do it that way? Anyhoo - I plan to get my voting in early - it's every saint lover for theyself!