Fraudulent votes

 

Dear participants in the European Tree of the Year,  voters,  supporters of trees,
today we must share with you important information. This information is not very positive, or pleasant, quite the contrary, it is very negative and unpleasant and is even threatening the integrity and honesty of our contest. We have experienced attempts to distort the just competition and deceitfully influence the results in favour of one of the contestants in this year's edition of the European Tree of the Year contest. It is not for the first time that we have faced such  behaviour and thus we have decided to make it public.
Luckily, our security systems and procedures were able to identify this fraudulent behaviour and we could eliminate its influence from the final results. It is all very unfortunate and it undermines the effort our national organisers make for a fair and open competition.
Some of the “supporters” of a particular tree candidate decided to “help” their favourite tree candidate by creating an artificially huge number of fraudulent votes. It affected not only the candidate to which the votes were originally intended, but also the other tree that received the second vote, which was the same in each case, leading to false expectations among our contestants and their supporting communities.
We have identified more than 30,000 such votes and we have deleted them all. Furthermore, we  promise we will continue to do so in the upcoming years if such behaviour appears again. We are considering adopting even stricter measures regarding voting procedure, but it might affect the whole community of voters and become too much trouble  for most of the public to put up with.
 That is why we are appealing to the whole community of tree lovers and tree supporters:
“This contest is special in many aspects, but one thing must always be clear, this contest is not only about winning the prestigious title, it is about recognising the importance of trees for us as human beings and about tree protection and care.”
We hope you all will understand our appeal and help us to keep this mission fair and clean from any deceitful behaviour!
Yours faithfully,
ETY organizer