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Fake voter guides were sent to 100,000 Montana state voters who wereasked to participate in an election. The voters were duped to believethat the voter guides were from the state since they had the officialseal of the state. Voters were supposed to make a partisan decisionin what seemed to be a non-partisan supreme court. The candidateswere put in situations where they had political leanings whichinvolved the current US president, Barrack Obama, as well as MittRomney (Scott, 2014). The controversial experiment was done by threeprofessors, Adam Bonica, Jonathan Rodden and Kyle Dropp from Stanfordand Dartmouth universities. The controversy surrounded the entireexperiment due to the use of the official seal of the state withoutthe states approval. The controversy also involved the aspect ofmaking a non-partisan election partisan (Vols, 2014).

The experiment was useful to the researchers in that it would haveenabled them to find out the influence of political leanings innon-partisan elections. The researchers wanted to find out whetherthe information about political leanings would influence the behaviorand the turnout of the voters in Montana. Researchers would havecollected immense knowledge with regard to the influence of voterbehavior pertaining to political leanings of candidates.

The state official seal a symbol of the state and cannot be used inacademic experiments without the approval of the state (Gazzete,2014). The researchers never acquired the approval of the statebefore using the official seal in their experiment. The voters whowere being duped belong to the state and therefore he state has theduty of protecting them against such people.

The entire project was unacceptable and unethical. The use of thestate seal and the decision to carry out the experiment without theapproval of the universities was unacceptable. I agree with the statethat the researchers were wrong and they did the experimentillegally. They used the name of the state for their own benefits.The researchers would have done this differently through carrying outtheir experiment without involving the state whatsoever. Theuniversities must also be involved in such an experiment.


Scott, D. (2014). Profs Bumble Into Big Legal Trouble AfterElection Experiment Goes Way Wrong. Retrieved from: seal-stanford-dartmouth-professors

Vols, M. (2014). Stanford, Dartmouth Apologize For `Deceitful`Montana Election Experiment. Huffpost College. Retrievedfrom: dartmouth-montana_n_6067410.html

Gazzete, B. (2014). Hewlett-Funded Political Science ExperimentCreates Political Fuss in Montana. Retrieved from: hewlett-funded-political-science-experiment-creates-political-fuss-in-montana.html