The Southern Standard’s annual Best of the Best promotion is designed to recognize the brightest in our community.
The Standard publishes ballots in the newspaper and residents are encouraged to vote for their favorite business, service provider or professional in a variety of categories. These cover the spectrum, from best waitress to best body shop to nearly everything in between.
The contest has run smoothly for 20 years. However, this year a third party is looking to taint the results and, according to a number of businesses who’ve been approached, is apparently accepting money for Best of the Best votes. The idea is this third party will buy hundreds of ballots, then for a small fee write your name, business entity or organization into the appropriate category on every ballot.
The end result is for a small fee, the business, organization or individual could be written on hundreds of ballots. This would distort the overall balloting and hurt those who purchase newspapers to vote on the respective ballots.
“No matter the contest or election, buying votes is never an appropriate thing to do,” said Standard publisher Patricia Zechman. “There are businesses which work hard year-round to provide great service and earn Best of the Best votes. This ruins it for them. I can’t say if something like this is illegal or not, but it certainly seems unethical.”
As always, multiple ballots can be purchased for the Best of the Best promotion, but those ballots must be purchased from the Standard offices on College Street, a newspaper rack, or from any of the authorized store dealers, not a third party not affiliated with the newspaper.