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NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 05:  Dan Girardi #5 of the New York Rangers against the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden on November 5, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images) Dan Girardi.

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Stuffing the Ballot Box for Dan Girardi Won’t Be So Easy

NHL All-Star Game write-in campaigns are often a sort of good-natured prank. There was the famous "Vote for Rory" campaign that nearly saw journeyman Rory Fitzpatrick voted into the 2007 game. There was last year's campaign to vote in Sean Avery, whose presence at the game would have pleased Rangers fans but driven most everyone else crazy. And then there's Project Mayhem — a plan hatched by a writer at the Maple Leafs blog Pension Plan Puppets that aims to get notable former Senators into this year's game in Ottawa. (Technically, not all of their targets will require write-in votes, but some will.) But this year's voting rules make it harder to stuff the ballot box for any candidate, write-in or otherwise.

You'll recall that there's a write-in campaign going on to make Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi one of the first six players voted into this year's game. Last year, fans were allowed to vote up to 30 times a day. And so after voting for Girardi 30 times on Monday, Kevin DeLury of the New York Rangers Blog — who's leading the charge to get Girardi on the team — attempted to vote 30 more times yesterday. But the online ballot wouldn't let him, saying he'd reached his limit. And so he checked the rules at the top of the ballot:

Give your favorite players the chance to play in the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL® All-Star Game in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada by submitting a ballot.

(Up to 30 times on each platform: below, on web-enabled mobile devices, and via SMS text.)

You'll note that the words "per day" are nowhere to be found there. Basically, fans can vote 30 times total on each platform over the course of the voting period. Which makes things harder for a write-in campaign that relies on a relatively small number of fans voting as many times as possible to increase their candidate's totals.

Perhaps there are workarounds — like creating multiple accounts, or something like that — though Puck Daddy points out that considering the way the sweepstakes rules associated with the vote are worded, it's possible the league is prepared to handle that by, say, banning IP addresses from suspected ballot-stuffers. Either way, a write-in campaign that was a long shot to succeed in the first place faces an even bigger challenge now.

The shame of all this is that the push to get Girardi on the team isn't a prank: He's having a terrific season, and Rangers fans would like to see him recognized —  and he still might be when the full rosters are announced. Until then, though, for those who didn't read the rules closely in the first place, boosting Girardi's vote totals will be even harder than previously thought.

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Photo: Nick Laham/2011 Getty Images