California shuts down Nader-Gore vote trading site.
October 31, 2000 8:06 AM   Subscribe

California shuts down Nader-Gore vote trading site. This is absolutely ridiculous. "William Wood, chief counsel for the office of the secretary of state, said yesterday morning that trading for anything valuable is illegal. "
posted by bkdelong (12 comments total)
Here's another juicy one:

"The vote is an inalienable, fundamental legal concept throughout the country. Certainly in California, we take that very seriously.''

And you don't think that those of us voters participating in vote trading don't take it seriously? You're goddamn right we do. We don't want someone to tell us we can't vote with our hearts.

Don't tell me what I can and cannot do with *my* vote.

Send complaints to CA Secretary of State Bill Jones or to the Secretary of State spokesperson Alfie Charles.
posted by bkdelong at 8:46 AM on October 31, 2000 for anything valuable is illegal.

Unless, of course, you're actually in government.
posted by harmful at 8:58 AM on October 31, 2000

I just hope someone from outside California offers to host it. As soon as possible.
posted by holgate at 9:14 AM on October 31, 2000

Key word here: "inalienable." Your vote is NOT your property, it's NOT yours to do with entirely as you choose. You can't sell (or trade) your vote for the same reason you can't sell yourself into slavery -- you're not allowed to do something that removes your (legal) ability to vote freely.

Voting isn't like a paycheck; they don't give you a vote every 4 years and then you can do what you want with it. Voting is an act of participation in a polity, it's not some right that exists outside of the system of government you're voting within.
posted by grimmelm at 9:28 AM on October 31, 2000

So an informal, non-binding agreement with someone else to vote a particular way in exchange for some sort of perceived benefit is illegal?

Hell, if only the (UAW/NRA) knew!
posted by snarkout at 10:12 AM on October 31, 2000

I was always more interested in the vote-trading idea as a form of social commentary (a la voteauction). After all, a lot of people (Dubyaphobes in particular) seem to see my vote as a commodity to be traded around by the various candidates. I much prefer to see my vote as a commodity under my control to use as I see fit.
posted by harmful at 10:19 AM on October 31, 2000

Yes, even non-binding agreements can be illegal. It's illegal for me to give you a hundred dollars to vote for Nader, even though I have no way of binding you to actually vote for him. I can't even offer to compensate you just for voting at all (which is why political parties can't and don't do anything more than offer to drive people to the polls). No quid pro quos where votes are concerned, is the rule.

posted by grimmelm at 10:21 AM on October 31, 2000

Well, that polishes off the voting lottery idea.
posted by donkeymon at 10:58 AM on October 31, 2000

But it's not illegal for a candidate to promise, say, billions of dollars in government handouts to a particular special interest? Or, as happened in Oakland a while back, a candidate to throw a big fried-chicken dinner for poor constituents? (Which was disgusting, but doesn't seem to be on a scale throwing billions of dollars at military contractors to build an illegal missile defense system.)

More to the point, I'm hard put to see how saying on that you'd like to pair up on NaderTrader actually constitutes compensation, but maybe I'm just dense that way.
posted by snarkout at 12:48 PM on October 31, 2000

Vote swapping is legal as long their is nothing traded for them. California needs to be sued.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 1:16 PM on October 31, 2000

Well, I'm sure that no Californian state politician, let alone Federal politician, has ever traded off votes. Or "paired". Because that would be rank hypocrisy, wouldn't it?
posted by holgate at 2:31 PM on October 31, 2000

Yeah, funny how the article completely ignores the fact that this is common practice for congresspersons, yet somehow individuals are restricted from engaging in the same actions as our "representatives" do on a daily basis.
posted by nomisxid at 4:24 PM on October 31, 2000

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