"I think the secretary of state is clamping down on pure political speech,"
November 2, 2000 12:01 PM   Subscribe

"I think the secretary of state is clamping down on pure political speech," says the ACLU, as they gear up to try to reopen Voteswap2000 and other vote-swapping sites.
posted by snarkout (7 comments total)
As a non-lawyer, I'll restate my confusion about why participating in one of these swapping sites is a "contract." Doesn't a contract constitute an exchange of goods or services? Are any services being exchanged? I'm not being persnickety -- I just don't know enough about the fine-print legalisms going on here to judge whether NaderTrader.org and such are legal or not.

And my apologies for assigning the ACLU a first-person singular in the story head; the copyediting fairy is going to wallop me for that one.
posted by snarkout at 12:03 PM on November 2, 2000

Black's Law Dictionary, 6th Ed., 1990, defines a contract as "an agreement between two or more persons which creates an obligation to do or not to do a particular thing."
Whether vote swapping is a contract or is legal or not is anybody's guess (not that I think it's of any great importance in this event).
posted by CRS at 12:41 PM on November 2, 2000

Voting for a candidate at someone else's behest could be construed as a service, I would imagine.
posted by daveadams at 1:02 PM on November 2, 2000

As for the legality of vote-swapping, that's up to the states, I would suppose. But the state a site is located in shouldn't have the power to shut down the site, only to tell it not to allow trades with its citizens.
posted by daveadams at 1:04 PM on November 2, 2000

Doesn't a legal contract have to be enforceable? (Standard disclaimers apply...)
posted by holgate at 1:31 PM on November 2, 2000

Last time I checked, voting was private. How the heck do you know that the person you made the deal with will actually fulfill their promise?
posted by Steven Den Beste at 11:00 PM on November 2, 2000

Well I still think the voteswap concept educated people to the true solution to this problem. We don't need to swap votes with individuals. We just go into the voting booth educated. Because of the numbers, if you're in a swing-state, both Gore and Nader supporters should vote for Gore. If you're in a state that is already strong for Gore or strong for Bush, vote for Nader. This will spread the votes more evenly and still put Gore in the whitehouse while simultaneously giving the Green party that elusive 5%.

The trick is to understand that it is not a popular vote that wins the election. The answers lay with the electoral college. Gore can lose votes to Nader and still win the election. In fact according to the number crunchers who are examining this year's election, Gore has a slight edge over Bush if this thing gets as close as it looks like it will.

But he can only afford to lose votes in those states that are not battleground. ABCNews.com has a state for state layout of how the electoral college factors into this. There are almost 150 electoral votes that are still up for grabs. As of this writing, the following states are battleground, or "swing" states.

Oregon, New Mexico, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Florida and Maine. These states are the ones that need both Gore and Nader supporters to vote for Gore. This is the only way to keep Bush out of the whitehouse.

States like Texas, Oklahoma, Indiana, Ohio, the Carolinas, and Mississippi are strong Bush states. In those states it doesn't matter if you vote for Gore or Nader, because there's such a strong support for Bush that Gore can't win those states anyway. And Nader won't get ANY electoral votes. That's a given. So in strong Bush states people can vote for Nader and it won't adversely affect the electoral college one way or the other, but it will help to boost the future of the Green party.

And I don't care if a third party is polka dotted with stripes, we need more variety in our political system. We need more than two parties in America. We need more selection than just Coke and Pepsi, y'know?

Anyone remember what television was like before FOX, UPN, the WB network and strong independent stations? Before cable? Compare that to what it's like now!

...okay. Forget I mentioned that.. =)
posted by ZachsMind at 8:08 AM on November 3, 2000

« Older Nader Pro and Con (omnibus).   |   this info Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments