Shock Headline – Olympics Movement in Governance Incident

Why, why are we not surprised.

Lost in the announcement of the successful bidding city for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games (we were going for Almaty but our opinion clearly does not count) was a monumental stuff up of good governance.

Lets go to our friends at the wonderful Olympics watch site called GamesBid.com:

The voting began for the much anticipated 2022 Olympic Winter Games election where Beijing was considered a heavy favourite against Almaty, but some members had difficulties with their tablets and had to exchange them for spares.  There were 85 members eligible to vote.

After several minutes of working through the issues the vote was finally declared closed.  Then it was announced that due to technical difficulties there would be a second vote on paper ballots.

IOC Director General Christophe De Kepper told the delegates that there were issues with the exchange of the tablets and the scrutineers “are not comfortable with the integrity of the vote.”

The results of the first ballot were not released.

The second paper ballot vote rendered a narrower than expected 44 to 40 result in favour of Beijing, with a single abstention.

And then to the point:

Then the conspiracy theories went viral through the halls of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre and the nearby hotels where bid committees were celebrating the end of the their campaigns.

What was the result of the first vote?

Chief scrutineer Nicole Hoevertsz, IOC member from Aruba reportedly said “I was not confident with the integrity of the process.”

Then she assured “it was not a tie,” responding to a popular theory that had evolved.

Oh but it gets better:

Scrutineers for the IOC votes are IOC Members themselves.  For Friday’s votes, along with Hoevertsz were Patrick Chamunda of Zambia and Frank Fredericks of Namibia assigned to the task.  That’s at least three voters who knew the results of the first ballot before the second ballot was taken.  That’s three voters who may have been influenced, or be able to influence vote change in the second round based on the first round results.

And even better still:

That’s also doesn’t take into account any voters who may have thrown courtesy votes behind Almaty only to switch to Beijing now believing the outcome is close.

So what happened:

When the issue was probed in a press briefing, IOC spokesperson Mark Adams assured that the firm Det Norske Veritas verified the results of the second ballot and confirmed the outcome.  He said he believes a frequency issue with the tablets led to two devices being exchanged in the earlier 2020 bid race but when 11 were exchanged during the 2022 vote, it was decided that they should switch to pen and paper instead.

The clinger is in the article’s summation:

At best, this incident cast some doubt on the integrity of the ballot.  At worst, it changed the result.

Firstly how, how, how can you use technology at this level and NOT be confident of its capabilities and … lets be honest … the competency of the users.

Secondly how, how, how can you let some know the result of the first vote before the second vote takes place.

And how, how, how could you have as scrutineers people that are also voting and who knew the result from the first vote.

This would be laughable if it were not for the fact that BILLIONS of dollars are at stake.

At least you would never see this with FIFA, cycling … 

 

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