Definitely there was not enough time given on voting, and, for better or for worse*, that clearly contributed to the result. Lack of publicity about the contest was also likely a factor. This suggests that the simplest and fairest approach, on balance, might simply be to extend the period for contributing and voting on a theme, with more publicity this time in order to incentivize more people to donate. The publicity of this controversy could help with that!
[*I think we could do a lot worse than "Ancapistan". To the extent we embrace "Ancapistan" and show that life in "Ancapistan" is not as bad as people think it is, it will naturally reduce opposition to libertarianism.]
I do not think there was a contract or agreement as such that the Convention Committee, or the LPC Executive Committee, would not extend the deadline, but some could argue there was an implied contract based on the nature of the contest. To make this right, I would suggest that those who already voted, each be offered the options of (a) getting their money back, or (b) getting an additional vote at no charge for each vote they bought, to compensate them for any possible or perceived violation of contract.
To just cancel the contest altogether, after having taken people's money, because some people do not like the results, seems to me at odds with the spirit of libertarianism, and respectfully, not the best way to proceed.
Even worse however, in my opinion, would be to in any sense change our substantive positions, or the content of our conventions, in accordance with a theme derived on the basis of donations. At least not as an organization – individuals, caucuses, etc., can of course make convention plans that express a theme or not as they choose. However any action the LPC takes on the basis of donations received, rather than on the basis of democracy – either of the direct one-person-one vote kind, or some kind of representative system such as we currently have – is to some extent substituting oligarchy for democracy. (This is why I also do not think voting or serving in leadership roles in the LPC should be in any way tied to paying dues.)
Aptitude at acquiring money, much less luck in having acquired it based on circumstances rather than aptitude (inheriting money, winning the lottery, etc.), does not necessarily equate with wisdom in knowing how the LPC can best advance the cause of freedom. In society at large, people who have money are people who have prospered financially under the status quo of Big Government (some of them unethically, though presumably fewer of these in the LP than elsewhere), while people who do not have money include, almost by definition, include those who are the greatest victims of statism (e.g. people who would have made money in a free society, but were unable to do so under the present circumstances created by government.
A final thought: There is great integrity and power in declaring that "Liberty Is Not For Sale!" and acting accordingly.
Love & Liberty,
((( starchild )))