Published 5:16 pm Tuesday, January 19, 2021
As we do from week to week on topics of community interest, an unscientific poll at SmithfieldTimes.com gave our regular readers and subscribers a chance to express themselves on the decision that Isle of Wight supervisors will soon make about the fate of the county’s Confederate monument. Unfortunately, the poll was hijacked by the Virginia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and distributed far and wide on Facebook, distorting the results with hundreds of votes by out-of-towners and out-of-staters, easily identifiable by their IP addresses. The poll got 30 times more votes than our standard weekly question.
We have no doubt that a majority of Isle of Wight residents would prefer to keep the monument right where it is. If the Board of Supervisors ultimately makes its decision based on a popularity contest, it will vote to keep the monument at the old courthouse. Many believe that’s the way it should work in a representative democracy. Others believe elected officials are obligated to make what they believe to be the right decisions rather than the popular ones.
Regardless, we won’t allow out-of-town interest groups to use the distorted SmithfieldTimes.com poll results to influence supervisors’ decision