Sock Puppets Don't Vote
by Irene Wrenner
June 1, 2021
In March the Essex Retorter reported that bogus accounts on Front Porch Forum were promoting Merger by posting nearly identical content in seven Essex neighborhoods a month before the Merger re-vote.
Critics of that report pushed back. For example, one reader accused the Retorter of "publicly making unfounded, unproven claims".
How can anyone know, for certain, whether the six unknown writers ― each cautioning against dire costs to the TOV if Merger failed again ― were real Merger-hopeful Essex residents or false identities?
The Retorter followed up by referencing the voting records from the March and April elections. If any of these residents who were so passionately pro-Merger ― having publicly taken a side ― were real people, one would expect them to have cast their own vote on April 13th. None had.
Nor had any of them voted in March.
As of April 20th, none were even registered on the Town’s voter checklist.
The Retorter stands by its original claim that false identities were created and used by Merger proponents connected to Pallas Web Development, in a campaign that attempted to use Front Porch Forum to dupe its readers.
These activists used deception to misrepresent the level of grassroots support for Merger, a technique known as “astroturfing.”