Fuengirola poster contest cancelled over hacking scandal

Poster contest cancelled over hacking scandal
Fuengirola Town Hall Malaga Photo credit: Wikimedia

FUENGIROLA COUNCIL has decided to abandon a design competition to choose a poster for its Feria Rosario.

Members of dance schools and local clubs will now choose a winner from three new proposals put forward by council workers after an initial public contest was supposedly hacked.

The town’s council last month launched a criminal investigation after unearthing electoral fraud in which around 741 “irregular” votes were cast, with one NIE number being used to make 338 votes.

The election was cancelled after computer technicians detected “a series of irregularities that can only be classified as very serious and a fraudulent use of the system,” suggesting their system had been hacked.

In June, a public contest was put together to choose a poster for the feria, with a prize of €3,750 up for grabs.  Thirty works were submitted, but the jury, made up of municipal workers, decided not to award a prize, believing none of the works met the competition’s requirements. A public outcry followed, forcing the council to put the contest to a vote on their website in which only registered voters in Fuengriola could cast a ballot using their NIE number.

Only one vote per person was allowed but the competition’s second phase IT workers found an impossibly high number of votes had been cast, revealing “fraud and a violation of the system by several individuals.”  Mayor Mula explained, “we cannot determine what posters the irregular votes have gone to.”

She added, “people who are not registered have been able to vote for a poster, something which should have been impossible.  It is unfortunate that people who have voted honestly, meeting the requirements, have been disadvantaged by those people who have chosen to violate the system, I suppose to try to get the prize.”

The council has now submitted evidence, including identity numbers and IP addresses to a court to ascertain whether a crime has been committed.

Mayor Mula said the jury will now decide what becomes of the competition, describing the situation as “very delicate.” She concluded, “this situation brings me great sadness because there are people who have put their own interests over those of the town for something as important as the Feria Rosario.  I hope justice will now be dealt swiftly.”

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