Daily Kos, the progressive blog that's long been a mainstay among the party's grassroots, is adding security measures to its popular Democratic presidential primary straw poll in order to provide some protection from any rigging by "malicious actors."
The announcement came alongside the release of its latest poll, which showed California Sen. Kamala Harris overtaking Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren for the top spot, and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke sliding down the leaderboard.
In a blog post announcing those results, the staff wrote that it would be requiring voters to submit their email addresses as part of those new security measures.
"It’s one of a series of measures we’re putting in place—many behind the scenes—to protect the integrity of the straw poll, while also helping build our list, one that does amazing activism work," the blog's staff writes.
"We’re not worried about campaigns or supporters spamming the straw poll—I like that this thing, unscientific as it is, measures online support intensity. We’re more worried about bots and Russians and malicious actors (like this one,)" it adds, linking to a report that President Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, tried to rig online presidential primary polls in Trump's favor.
Carolyn Fiddler, a spokesperson for Daily Kos, told NBC that the email verification benefits the blog in two ways: requiring the additional step makes it harder for anyone to improperly influence the result, while also helping the group to grow its email list that it uses to mobilize and marshal support to candidates.
The measures come because the straw poll, by design, is not a scientific poll of Daily Kos members, but instead an online-based poll where anyone (with an email address) can vote. But it's been an interesting measure of Democratic grassroots support in the past, so it has usefulness if taken with that grain of salt.
The latest round of the straw poll showed Harris, who just announced her bid on Monday, storm up the rankings to win 27 percent of the vote. That's almost a two-fold increase from her 14 percent earlier this month.
Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren finished in second with 18 percent, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden's 13 percent and Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders' 12 percent.
Former Texas Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke fell the furthest in the straw poll, from 15 points to 8 points over two weeks.