The Vote Is In (Or Is It?)

Among the many accolades that CMEpalooza has won over the years is the prestigious “Best Online Conference” award given by the National Organization of Online National Events (NOONE). In fact, we won it 4 years in a row between 2015-2019. With the banner year that CMEpalooza had in 2020 – record-breaking attendance, sponsorship, and blog readers – we thought for sure we’d win it again this year.

But, shocker to us all, we lost. To, of all things, a meeting called YEPpers. We don’t even know what that means, but eh, whatever? We’ve won enough over the years, right?


And so over the weekend, the much-aggrieved Derek Warnick decided to take matters into his own hands and had our crack lead intern, Meadow Marcus, place a call to Mary Bergeraff, who monitors the annual voting for this award at NOONE. Meadow secretly recorded the call to prove to her family once and for all that the stories she’d been telling them about the wacky things that happen at CMEpalooza headquarters are true. 

Here is a truncated transcript of their discussion. A full version will be online, well, never. It’s too embarrassing. 

Marcus: Ok. Alright. Mr. Warnick, everyone is on the line. This is Meadow Marcus, the CMEpalooza head intern. Just so we are all aware, on the line is, well, no one else. I’m not even sure what this call is all about, but I just do what I’m told. Mr. Warnick, er, I mean Derek, I’ll turn it over to you.

Warnick: OK, thank you very much. Hello everybody. So I’ve spent a lot of time on this, and I’d just like to go over some of the numbers. I think it’s pretty clear that CMEpalooza won. We won very substantially among female voters whose name starts with the letter “S.” You can see it by the number of people who read our blog. We get 250-300 people who read each post and the competition would get less than 100. It never made sense.

Anywhere from 150-200 votes were mysteriously submitted via SurveyMonkey. Much of that had to do with male voters between the ages of 49-52 who live in Uruguay. We think that if you check the IP addresses of everyone who voted from Uruguay – a real audit of their IP addresses – you’ll find at least a couple hundred of people logged in from the same computer and duplicated many, many votes.

It’s a tremendous number. We’re going to have our intern’s little sister – she’s a 10th grader taking Calculus. I bet you couldn’t do that — she’s going to re-run the votes to give us an accurate number. It’s in the tens – and that’s people that went to vote online and were told they couldn’t vote because someone had already logged in using their username and password. And it’s a very sad thing. They didn’t complain because, let’s be real, no one else really cares, but I care.

I think the margin was 19 votes. Mary, you agree with that right? That’s a number that everyone agrees upon.

We had, I believe, 45 voters who voted but they weren’t on the eligible list of voters. One of them we found doesn’t even own a computer. Then you had 183 people who don’t have Internet access. They can’t log into a computer so how can their vote be counted?

In the Netherlands, they said very clearly that there was a large hack, and everyone logged off the Internet. But before they announced it was safe to get back online, there was that one family – I think it’s the Hjerkenbergers – who logged back online and supposedly submitted a whole batch of fraudulent votes. They weren’t submitted through the actual SurveyMonkey link, but they somehow hacked into a backdoor and entered their votes.

And that’s just for starters. I know you say you would like to get to the bottom of this, but I saw you interviewed on a podcast today – wait, you can’t see a podcast, right? – and you said you found nothing wrong. I mean, you know we didn’t lose the vote, Mary. People have been saying more people voted in this competition than have ever voted before. There was no way they beat us.

Marcus: So Mr. Warnick, er Derek, if I might be able to jump in, and I’ll give Mary a chance. In some of these areas where the facts are indisputable, in the spirit of cooperation and compromise, can’t you just tell the people that CMEpalooza won so Derek will stop whining about it?

Bergeraff: Well, I listened to what Mr. Warnick has just said. Mr. Warnick, we’ve counted the vote twice now, and, um, we don’t agree that CMEpalooza won. And we don’t agree with those numbers that you mentioned.

Warnick: Well, Mary, I’m just giving you minimal numbers. We have evidence that puts us many, many times above the margin. But what’s the difference between winning the competition by two votes or 200 votes? I think we probably did win it by 200. You look at all of the people who say they love CMEpalooza, the people who log onto our LIVE page the night before our events. It’s not possible to have lost.

Bergeraff: Well Mr. Warnick, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong. We talked to the technical team at SurveyMonkey and, frankly, they said they had better things to do than interfere in a piddly competition like this, but I pressed the issue and they looked back at the IP addresses of the voters. The actual number of duplicate voters was two.

Warnick: I mean, look, Mary. We have a new tape that we’re going to release tomorrow. It’s devastating. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m sure it shows massive, massive amounts of fraud. People being paid to vote for that other meeting. Did you know they paid people? Yes, we have it on video. Fifty cents changing hands. We have it magnified. Fifty cents. Terrible.

Bergeraff: Mr. Warnick, the problem you have with social media, they — people can say anything.

Warnick: Oh this isn’t social media. This is the CMEpalooza blog comments. I don’t care about social media. Social media is Big Tech. Big Tech never liked us since they shut down Google Hangouts On Air. I don’t even know why you have a side, because you should want to have an accurate competition.

Bergeraff: We believe that we do have an accurate competition.

Warnick: No, no you don’t. No, no you don’t. You don’t have. Not even close. You’re off by hundreds of votes.

So what are we going to do here, Mary? CMEpalooza only needs 20 votes. Give me a break.

Bergeraff: Mr. Warnick, you have your people – I guess your intern’s little sister – who calculate the vote and we have our people, who are actual adults with real jobs, who calculate the vote. We believe our numbers are right.

Warnick: Your numbers aren’t right. They’re really wrong, and you know they are really wrong. You said last year that you like CMEpalooza. Why don’t you just say that CMEpalooza wins again?

You guys are so wrong. Between you and your CEO, who I endorsed for a 10 percent pay raise, and like a schmuck I endorsed him and he got the pay raise, but I will tell you, he is a disaster.

We only need 20 votes. I have given you evidence of many, many times that number of fraudulent votes. Just 20 votes. That’s all we need. My kids aren’t speaking to me. They are calling me a loser. C’mon, I am not asking for much. Scott doesn’t even know we’re talking today. He says he doesn’t care. Please, Mary, I’m begging you. Just 20 votes. What will it take?

Bergeraff: Goodbye Mr. Warnick.

Warnick: Wait, please don’t hang up on me. (They hang up) Hello, hello? Meadow, get me Giuliani’s second cousin once removed on the line. She’ll know how to handle this.

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