Drawing a winner from a group of entries is not as easy as it sounds. It’s not like a village fete tombola where you can dig deep into the sawdust and pick out a prize. There’s a whole lot of science and worry behind it too.
We’ve recently managed a big national public vote that needed one winner announcing. The winner was the person with the most votes. Again, that’s not as simple as it may sound. We had to ensure that all votes were valid against a strict set of criteria: location of the voter and single vote per person being two of them.
This isn’t done manually thankfully- we don’t sit there physically counting raffle tickets! We wrote a programme that ran through all the data and wheedled out the invalid and duplicate entries. But with many thousands of entries, this still took hours and hours.
And then the remaining data needed to be double-checked. And triple checked.
One small mistake could lead to a calamity of errors: think Terry Wogan’s 2007 Eurovision: Making Your Mind Up faux pas. In fact, that disaster is really worth sharing as an example of why everything needs to be water-tight. If you want to watch the full horror then go to http://youtu.be/ciE6G7LhhdE.
Mission accomplished for us though. The winner was chosen accurately and, importantly, the announcement was made correctly. Phew.