My first reaction after hearing about the news: What?!
Yes, the Department of State (DOS) has rescinded all previously announced green card lottery results for DV-2012. Citing a computer software bug, the agency, which has full authority over the diversity visa program, has decided to redo the selections. If you have checked your status since May 1st, either overjoyed by winning or disappointed for missing out, don’t worry: All results are invalid now.
“We regret to inform you that, due to a computer programming problem, the results of the 2012 Diversity Lottery that were previously posted on this website have been voided. They were not valid and were posted in error. The results were not valid because they did not represent a fair, random selection of entrants, as required by U.S. law.” – DOS
What may count as a relief is that you don’t have to start over. In fact you are not allowed to resubmit an entry. All qualified entries for DV-2012, which ran from October 5 to November 3, 2010, remain valid. New selections will be drawn from the same pool.
The new results will be available around July 15, 2011. You will still need the confirmation page, which was displayed after you submitted your lottery entry online, to check the status of your case.
The department didn’t elaborate on the “computer programming error,” other than saying that the software problem resulted in a selection that was not truly random. In fact, more than 90% of the entries that were selected came from the first two days.
Also, DOS specifically addressed a common concern about the possibility of hacker attack:
Q: Was the Department of State hacked? Was my personal information at risk?
We have no evidence that this problem was caused by any intentional act. No unauthorized party accessed data related to the DV program.
This appears to be solely the result of a computer programming error.
Update 8/9/2011: DV-2012 results and statistics