Recently I voted on an answer, and downvoted it because I thought the answer was factually incorrect. But then, 1/2 hour later, I found out that it wasn't, and I tried to remove my downvote. I got this:

You last voted on this answer 32 minutes ago. Your vote is now locked in unless this answer is edited.

... I don't recall this being how voting worked before; was this a change to how the site works? I only remember my vote being locked if I voted multiple times, which I didn't.

1 Answer 1


This is a very old design feature. You only have a short grace period of 5 minutes for undoing a vote. AFAIK, this is a network-wide feature, I haven't heard of per-site exceptions.

What are the limits on how I can cast, change, and retract votes?

With very little searching, I found a reference to it from 2010: Unvote (toggle vote up). It is possible that it is older than that, maybe even from the beginning of SE.

I found some old discussions of the change. It was done by the network founder Jeff Atwood and must have been in place in February 2010 at the latest. Why can't I change my vote if the post has been edited during the initial 5mn grace period?. He refers to it even earlier, in August 2009: https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/18046/149055. It seems that it was unpopular back then, but it appears to be considered status-by-design.

The rationale behind it is prevention of certain type of voting "fraud". There are examples discussed on Meta Stackexchange. As to why you haven't noticed it before, you might have always undone a vote within the grace period before now.

  • Feh, so another case of "this misfeature exists because it solved a problem for SO that your SE doesn't have, but you have to live with it". There seem to be a lot of those. And I guess when I've changed my vote in the past the answerer must have edited it.
    – FuzzyChef
    Aug 15, 2022 at 19:13
  • @FuzzyChef I'm with you; I don't care for the feature either. People do update their understanding of a question while researching!
    – rumtscho Mod
    Aug 16, 2022 at 11:14

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