One of the reasons I use the LJ poll is that it's not so simple to game. Obviously anyone could register for additional LJ addresses, and vote multiple times, but I have no way to control for that, and I don't want to get in the business of doing so. I don't generally give away prizes of such value that this ought to be an issue. (The recent Greetings From Lake Wu limited -- which I still need to send out -- was an exception.)
However, to me, promoting your entry in one of my contests isn't gaming. It can't be. Because I can't be in the business of judging the sincerity of a given vote. Did some people vote because they were a contestant's friend, and hadn't even read the other entries? Almost certainly. But how would I ascertain that? What would I do about it?
I'm sorry this process has been challenging for some people. I run the contests and polls because they entertain me. That's pretty much why I do almost anything I do on this LJ. I already have a job. This doesn't need to be work as well. If the contests become divisive, I suppose I'd stop running them, simply because then it becomes too much trouble for me to deal with the process and the people who take offense -- then it's not fun any more.
Meanwhile, all of y'all are on the honor system. Because it's the honor system, I won't attempt to audit or enforce any voting standards. If that bothers some of you, I suppose the thing to do is not play.
You know, I hated having to write this entry. See, right now it's not any fun.