A while back I provided a very high-scoring answer to https://stackoverflow.com/q/4927230 that is currently three votes away from earning the Populist badge. However, if I down-voted the accepted answer (which is a perfectly valid answer!), I'd only need one extra up-vote to get the Populist badge. Of course, I actually have integrity (I swear!), and I would never do this. I could easily see that someone who wanted a gold badge and was in a similar situation might be tempted to down-vote the accepted answer just to ensure that their own answer outscored it by 2x. Similarly, if someone wanted to give someone the populist badge, down-voting the accepted answer and up-voting the user's answer would effectively add three votes to the non-accepted answer (+1 vote, +2 votes that don't need to be earned any more).
Is this a problem worth addressing, or is this scenario so uncommon that we don't need to worry about it? I just want to ensure that people who offer good answers that get outscored aren't penalized solely to allow someone else to earn a gold badge.