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What is the justification for locking votes?

What are the pros and cons of locking in votes (that is, up-voting and down-voting an answer)... On StackOverflow a user answered my programming question correctly but at first I had misread his answer and gave it a down-vote... after re-reading it almost immediately I realized what he meant and it was actually quite brilliant. I went to accept the answer (this worked) and then up-vote the answer (or at least undo my down-vote) but it said "You last voted on this answer 1 minute ago... your vote is now locked until the user edits their answer"... To me this doesn't seem very wise, and I can't think of any benefits of this.

What are the pros and cons of PERMANENTLY locking in votes?

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    Tactical Downvoting – Jeff Mercado Jan 17 '13 at 5:39
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    ^Perhaps somebody who has NOT answered the question (or maybe even just the asker of the question) should be able to reverse their votes no matter what. – Albert Renshaw Jan 17 '13 at 5:56
  • Consider this scenario, suppose I like what one user is doing and I follow his answers upvoting them. Then one day months later I don't like him and retract those upvotes, all of them. It doesn't hurt me, my rep is unaffected. His rep suddenly drops by a lot due to this. Is that fair? This would be similar to the "rage-quitting" phenomenon. – Jeff Mercado Jan 17 '13 at 6:01
  • Could you not do this anyways? Could I not go to your profile and find every answer you've ever given and down vote it? (I really don't know, this is a legitimate question) – Albert Renshaw Jan 17 '13 at 6:06
  • Though you could do that, it would only last for a few hours. The software running the site has code which detects suspicious voting activity - serial downvoting is reversed automatically. – user206222 Jan 17 '13 at 6:46
  • Very fascinating! Thankyou for the serial down voting reference... Would this not then apply to Jeff's example too... therefor allowing us to unlock reverse voting? – Albert Renshaw Jan 17 '13 at 6:57