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Vote Swapping Ruled Legal

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the third-parties-could-get-some-respect dept.

The Courts 496

cayenne8 writes "During the 2000 election, some sites were set up for people across the nation to agree to swap votes, among them voteswap2000.com and votexchange2000.com. They were established mainly to benefit the third-party candidate Ralph Nader without throwing local elections to George Bush. The state of California threatened to prosecute these sites under criminal statues, and many of them shut down. On Monday the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the vote-swap sites were legal (ruling here, PDF). The court held that '...the websites' vote-swapping mechanisms as well as the communication and vote swaps they enabled were constitutionally protected' and California's spurious threats violated the First Amendment. The 9th Circuit also said the threats violated the US Constitution's Commerce Clause.'"

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496 comments

Just Democrats (-1, Flamebait)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146127)

Intimidating voters. Doesn't count when Democrats break the law, silly.

Where the FUCK is iLife '07??? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20146153)

Come ON you homosexual deviants in Cupertino. QUIT FUCKING AROUND and update your fucking software every so often. You mincing faggots are worse than Debian...

Re:Where the FUCK is iLife '07??? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20146235)

Come on, doesn't anyone read the summary these days?? It's clearly about eunuchs, not homosexuals.

Re:Just Democrats (4, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146189)

The same software could also solve the Libertarian/Republican crisis as well as the Green/Democrat crisis, so I see no point in arguing that it's one sided.

Re:Just Democrats (3, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146263)

The same software could also solve the Libertarian/Republican crisis as well as the Green/Democrat crisis, so I see no point in arguing that it's one sided.
Vote Libertarian--crisis solved :-)

Re:Just Democrats (2, Funny)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146795)

Vote Libertarian--crisis solved :-)

Incorrect, as this may well throw the election to the Democrats.

Re:Just Democrats (1)

bluprint (557000) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146491)

Sorry, but a Republican vote isn't an "almost as good as" vote for a libertarian.

Re:Just Democrats (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146845)

Yes, but from that point of view, it's a far sight better than a spoiler vote for a Democrat, which the Libertarian vote might become (has become in the past) without vote trading software.

Re:Just Democrats (4, Interesting)

dynamo (6127) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146709)

Dude, I know it's a popular misconception, especially among the R's, but Libertarians are NOTHING LIKE republicans, and it's just as easy for us to see their behavior is deceitful, wasteful, totalitarian, and just plain disgusting.

We libertarians believe in things like civil rights and limitations on federal government power. If republicans have ever supported these concepts, it hasn't been during my politically aware lifetime (last 15 years or so.)

I don't know what the hell Ron Paul thinks he's doing acting like part of that group of idiots. And don't tell me that they are both supposed to be "conservative". The pointless and unnecessary wars they tend to start and glamorize are the most expensive, wasteful, and downright suicidal (on a national level) government programs I've ever seen.

Libertarians are much more similar to democrats these days - Oh, except we have actual beliefs where democrats* use polling.

---
* Dennis Kucinich and possibly Mike Gravel excluded

Can this be... (1)

bjk002 (757977) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146139)

Retroactive?

Re:Can this be... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20146387)

Sure. Maybe Nadar will finally get enough votes to earn a permanent part on the ballot, and Gore will lose by even more votes. Oh, wait. You wanted a different outcome entirely!

Re:Can this be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20146527)

I used to be one of those people who said you have to vote for your candidate in order to eventually force a third party. The idea is a good one. We need a third party. Today when people profess to me the same ideology I simply say to them...... Bush! I still think we need a third party but sometimes you have to vote against your better instincts for the better of the country/world.

Seems reasonable... (5, Insightful)

nebaz (453974) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146161)

If politicians can shape districts to 'coordinate' votes, why shouldn't the people be able to do the same?

Re:Seems reasonable... (3, Insightful)

Goalie_Ca (584234) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146495)

Signs of a broken system...

Re:Seems reasonable... (1, Insightful)

pureevilmatt (711216) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146749)

The patch? Instant Run-off Voting.

What Constitution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20146181)


I thought I had already burned the damned thing.

If not already, I'll have it burned before I declare elections null and void.

Feloniosly As Always,
George W. Bush [whitehouse.org]

This is BULLSHIT (0)

Anonymous Crowhead (577505) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146187)

Selling your vote is illegal. Trading == selling.

Re:This is BULLSHIT (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20146271)

1. Trading =/= selling.
2. There is no actual contract or binding agreement to cast a vote in any particular manner involved in these sites. They are not actually trading or selling anything, even a vote. What they are essentially doing is polling people and allowing them to base their choice on what others are doing. It's really nothing special and there is no reason for this to be illegal.

Re:This is BULLSHIT (4, Interesting)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146277)

I'm not sure if your statement is true or false (that you can't sell your vote) but what difference does it make? Forcing someone through violence (physical, mental, whatever) is illegal. However it is my vote I can do what I want with it.

You aren't actually trading anything. You say I will use my legal vote to do A if you do B. There is no way to enforce it just a gentleman's agreement.

But let us say it is illegal. Then how could anyone ever vote. Voting is basically a trade is it not? The politician offers to do the things if you vote for them. Sounds like a trade to me.

So if you can't "trade" votes, IMHO, you can't have a democratic voting process.

Re:This is BULLSHIT (4, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146287)

That's what I thought. You shouldn't be allowed to make an agreement with someone that dictates how you should vote. If you can trade one vote for another vote, then how is that different from trading a vote for money? My other question is how do you guarantee who the other person is voting for. Say I want to vote for Nader, but that would mean that Bush would win in my state, so I trade my vote to a place where Bush cannot win, and I vote for Kerry. Now the guy I trade with just reneges on the deal and also votes for Kerry. So, now we have 2 votes for Kerry, and none for Nader. I could see the democrats using this as a way to increase the number of votes they get. Basically trade with someone who wants you go vote independant, so that the republicans don't win, and then make both votes democratic.

Re:This is BULLSHIT (1)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146593)

You shouldn't be allowed to make an agreement with someone that dictates how you should vote.
Quite the opposite, you make an agreement with someone when you vote; the person you vote for. I certainly know that when the candidates come knocking on my door (I live in the UK, they actually do that here*) I discuss their party policies with them, and form my opinion about who to vote for.
In essence you are saying to that person I'll vote for you, if you vote for these policies.

*That's not 100% true, it depends on where you live, if you live in a marginal you'll get home visits from the candidates and lots of senior party figures visit the area; if you live in a seat where a sheep with the right coloured rosette would win, no chance.

Re:This is BULLSHIT (1)

Azarael (896715) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146645)

I'm no expert on US politics, but isn't this how votes in the house of representatives often work? Certainly lots of negotiation must go on for any bipartisan legislation to pass?, it may not be vote for vote, but there is definitely back scratching going on. If that is the case, then why should the regular public be held to higher standards then their representatives?

Re:This is BULLSHIT (1)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146925)

I don't know about the USA, but somthing similar certainly happens here in the UK; it's called "pairing", Parties will let their MPs pair off with one another one from a different party, so that both can abstain rather that being disciplined by the party for rebelling against the party line.

Re:This is BULLSHIT (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146915)

My other question is how do you guarantee who the other person is voting for.
It's called trust. Have you ever heard of that concept? And it's not like you're trading votes with a person who's holding diametrically-opposed views to your own. Chances are, if you were swapping votes in the last election, it was because you didn't want Bush elected first and foremost. And as long as you're trading votes with someone who has the same primary goal as your own, then I don't see what the problem is.

Let's be practical. Trust is what makes this country go around, not Courts. If you don't trust the person I've trusted with my vote, then that's *your* problem -- not mine. Anyway, good luck with preventing people from communicating with each other several months before the elections, I wander what draconian measures you would put in place to prevent us from doing that.

Re:This is BULLSHIT (2, Interesting)

sycomonkey (666153) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146293)

Actually there's a big difference between selling and trading. If you sell it, a person gets to vote twice in exchange for money, which is unfair to poor people. However, by trading it, you only bring to the table what every other citizen has, one vote, and it is thus inherently fair.

Re:This is BULLSHIT (2, Interesting)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146351)

If you sell it, a person gets to vote twice in exchange for money, which is unfair to poor people
No it's not! Becasue they get the money ;)

Cheers!

Re:This is BULLSHIT (0)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146335)


Deal with it Zippy. It' perfectly legal. No money changes hand. Quite honestly there is no guarantee that the people actually kept their word and voting for the candidate the other person wanted.

Anyone could use this tactic. Politicians use Gerrymandering for their own gains, how can you complain!

Idiot.

Re:This is BULLSHIT (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146453)

Politicians use Gerrymandering for their own gains, how can you complain!

Let's take a quiz. Two wrongs don't make a.... what?

Re:This is BULLSHIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20146753)

LEFT!

Re:This is BULLSHIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20146355)

you're not technically selling or trading your vote in vote pairing because a vote is considered to have no pecuniary value

Re:This is BULLSHIT (0)

Rolgar (556636) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146481)

It is? Which law is that?

Everybody should be voting the way that gives themselves the most benefit, right? Well if some voters don't see any value in their vote beyond what someone will give them to vote a particular way, why should we care? Because it goes against the spirit of what democracy is? That wouldn't make it illegal.

Really, since nobody can prove that you voted for somebody that you'd traded votes for, you could conceivably offer to vote for hundreds of people, or trick people into voting for who you want, but then not vote the way you promised. Nobody could ever convict you of not following through on your 'contract' or following through, because the secret ballot would prevent you from being persecuted since nobody can prove you ever actually completed the trade.

Until we change our voting system, it won't really matter. What, three of the last four elections could have changed hands just by eliminating a third party candidate. That's a situation that should never be an issue in a well run election.

Unless you're a Congressman / Senator? (2, Insightful)

MDMurphy (208495) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146537)

It would have been interesting if they'd ruled it was illegal. Vote swapping in Washington is done every day of the week, you vote for my bill, I'll vote for yours. While this is a slightly different type of voting, it usually has much more stringent requirements, i.e. no absentee voting.

This mechanism of reaching a compromise by agreement on how someone will vote on various issues is pretty deeply ingrained in U.S. politics, so it would be odd indeed to restrict it's use to elected officials only.

Re:This is BULLSHIT (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146637)

Do you have a reference for that? I doubt it'd be any cause of concern, because you would never know if the person upheld their end of the bargin and voted as promised.

9th Circus ?!? It will be reversed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20146203)

9th Circus ?!? It will be reversed on appeal. These jokers get overturned more than any other court, and with good reason.

Re:9th Circus ?!? It will be reversed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20146223)

9th Circus ?!? It will be reversed on appeal. These jokers get overturned more than any other court, and with good reason.

That reason being that they hear more cases than any other court.

Re:9th Circus ?!? It will be reversed (1)

Old VMS Junkie (739626) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146413)

They hear more because anyone who has no hope in any other courtroom can always count on the 9th to stretch the law in ways it was never intended to be stretched. I'd be willing to bet the 9th gets overturned more than any other court both in terms of sheer numbers AND percentage of case overturned. Whenever the Supreme Court overturns a ruling, you can bet money it came from the 9th.

Re:9th Circus ?!? It will be reversed (4, Informative)

Gorm the DBA (581373) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146601)

Umm...actually...you're completely wrong.

As a percentage of cases overturned, the 4th, 5th, 8th, and 10th circuits were overturned by the Supreme Court 100% of the time, the 9th was only 75% of the time.

The national average is 74%...in short the 9th Circuit is statistically no more or less likely to be overturned than anywhere else.

(source: http://www.centerforindividualfreedom.org/legal/re versal_rates.pdf [centerfori...reedom.org] )

Re:9th Circus ?!? It will be reversed (2, Insightful)

Jhon (241832) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146913)

Wow... someone modded you up?

Some people just don't actually follow up on citations.

To anyone who feel's motivated to mod parent up, please review the SOURCE of the PDF first. [centerfori...reedom.org]

Clearly the GP is not "completely wrong". The GP is more on the money than he realized.

Although the 9th Circuit's caseload comprised approximately 17% of the federal appellate cases terminated in the year ending March 31, 2002, its decisions accounted for close to half (43%) of all the federal appellate decisions reviewed by the Supreme Court this past term.

Re:9th Circus ?!? It will be reversed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20146621)

Your comment would be more interesting if you were less willing to bet and more willing to research.

Re:9th Circus ?!? It will be reversed (1)

2short (466733) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146773)

"They hear more because..."

Out of 12 courts of appeals, more than a fifth of the population lives in the jurisdiction of the 9th circuit.

The number of cases heard by appeals courts correlates so closely to the districts population as to render any other proposed explanation obvious reaching. (Not counting the DC Circuit)

Re:9th Circus ?!? It will be reversed (1)

Jhon (241832) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146849)

From a cite quoted in this thred: [centerfori...reedom.org]

Although the 9th Circuit's caseload comprised approximately 17% of the federal appellate cases terminated in the year ending March 31, 2002, its decisions accounted for close to half (43%) of all the federal appellate decisions reviewed by the Supreme Court this past term.


There's obviously SCOTUS eyes watching the 9th...

is it legal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20146205)

to sell my vote?

What about selling your vote? (0, Flamebait)

$1uck (710826) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146215)

Is there anything stating you can't offer your vote for sale? I can't recall anything saying you can't do that... just that it would be impossible for anyone to verify you followed your part of the contract.

Re:What about selling your vote? (3, Interesting)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146301)

I don't know if selling a vote is illegal or not, however, in order to sell your vote, someone must buy it. I'm pretty sure that buying votes directly is illegal. As to the inability to verify your part of the contract, I guess you will either be guilty of violating a contract of selling your vote.

(That last part is a joke, btw. Contracts to perform an illegal act are non-binding)

Re:What about selling your vote? (1)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146549)

Contracts to perform an illegal act are non-binding
But the act of voting is not illegal... It seems adhering to the contract is the only illegal thing here.

In the US, can you be convicted for 'you are a criminal either way' situations?

Suppose men enter a building separately (they don't know each other) and both commit unrelated crimes at the exact same time. The police get there to apprehend both of them, but don't know which one committed which crime. Can they be convicted? If the crimes were NOT at the same time, then can they both use the defense that the other one did both?

Cheers!

Re:What about selling your vote? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20146921)

If the crimes were NOT at the same time, then can they both use the defense that the other one did both?

If it was Houston, both of them would get charged with both of the crimes, even after one of them was found guilty. The justice system there has no problem executing people for crimes they already executed someone for.

Re:What about selling your vote? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146327)

I don't see how you can sell your vote in an anonymous election. I can say 'I'll vote for your candidate if you give me $1000,' and then vote for the other one without you knowing about it. This also makes me wonder how a vote swapping site is supposed to work. It seems that I could go on one, offer to swap my vote, then have both myself and the other person vote for my candidate (unless they think the same thing, in which case we both vote as we would have done, having just wasted some of our time).

Re:What about selling your vote? (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146559)

> I don't see how you can sell your vote in an anonymous election.

And that's why we have secret ballots. Throw in coercion too.

And you can't really verifiably swap votes in such a scheme either -- the voter swap stuff amounted to nothing more than a gentleman's agreement, and I have no doubts that a significant percentage of the participants in the voter swap reneged when they actually got to the booths. I don't imagine the voteswap sites were under any illusions that it would be otherwise.

Nice to know that exercising your goddam freedom of association is legal now... best check with The State first these days to make sure you have any rights before, you know, doing anything at all.

Re:What about selling your vote? (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146617)

Not exactly. A Democrat voter in a state where the democrats would surely win might prefer to give his vote in a state where they could really do with their vote. A Nader voter OTOH might like to give his vote in a state where there is little chance of the Republicans winning.
Theoretically, it's a win-win situation, but as you have noticed, it's based on trust, just that it might be good to know the numbers. (but considering the fact that probably only a very small proportion of the electorate actually participated, it won't matter much.)

Re:What about selling your vote? (1)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146661)

but considering the fact that probably only a very small proportion of the electorate actually participated, it won't matter much
Were there any people from FL who used these websites?

Cheers!

Re:What about selling your vote? (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146329)

That's why the Democrats push for paper trail/voter receipts, silly.

Re:What about selling your vote? (1)

dlt074 (548126) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146331)

you can sell your vote only to the politicians for pork spending, social programs and entitlements.

Re:What about selling your vote? (1)

k_187 (61692) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146365)

Yes, that's how the system is supposed to work. Why else would I vote for someone if I wasn't expecting some benefit from doing so?

Re:What about selling your vote? (2, Insightful)

rewt66 (738525) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146573)

Note well: A well-run country is a benefit. Not being taxed to death to pay for a bunch of pork is a benefit. Honesty and integrity in government is a benefit.

Cool (1)

evil agent (918566) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146231)

I'll agree with just about anything that helps "the third guy" in elections. I'm tired of throwing my vote away!

Unfortunately, it's hard for me to believe that a third party will ever have a legitimate chance at winning the presidency...

Re:Cool (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146415)

Unfortunately, it's hard for me to believe that a third party will ever have a legitimate chance at winning the presidency...

      Stranger things have happened. Of course it never will, since almost everyone shares your attitude.

      Costa Rica (my adopted country) has had a two-party system for well over 40 years. Last election, the incumbent party failed to obtain more than 10% of the vote, and a completely new party is sharing power with the traditional "opposition" which won by a narrow margin.

      Make your vote count, and maybe one day the change will happen when enough people get pissed off.

Re:Cool (5, Interesting)

johnkzin (917611) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146437)

I'd rather have the Australian voting system.

You rank the candidates instead of just picking one. On the first pass of counting, the highest ranked candidate on your ballot gets your vote.

Then they eliminate the lowest ranked candidate. Then the ballots are re-counted, and anyone who had that as their highest rank has their vote go to their 2nd ranked candidate.

Repeat until you have a clear winner.

The advantages are:

1) if you have single issue candidates, then the first round of counting tells you how important each of those single issue candidates were

2) if you put your highest rank on your "idealist" candidate, and second rank on your "practical candidate", then you get to make both of those votes without throwing your vote away.

Re:Cool (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146463)

If you think that voting for the candidate that best represents your outlook in politics is "throwing [your] vote away" it's pretty easy to understand why a third party hasn't won yet.

Re:Cool (1)

Bacon Bits (926911) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146523)

Of course it's throwing the vote away. The winner-takes-all electoral college system guarantees that third parties are all but non-votes. The US is a two party system precisely because of the electoral college.

Re:Cool (2, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146851)

If you're going for a simple majority in an election what difference does it make if the electoral college is there or not? I understand that it is a problem that a candidate can win without the popular vote but I don't see how this brings down a third party candidate. If anything it could benefit him.

Re:Cool (1)

Keys1337 (1002612) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146885)

You only have one vote, and it is highly improbable that your single vote will change the outcome, whether it is an electoral college system or not. You should vote for who you really want to win regardless if they have a chance. The idea that your single vote is meaningful to a greater extent that your personal preference is stupid. Even if you have a Nader situation, you still only have a single vote. If you strategize about acting as an individual or some group think strategy it won't make a difference. If you as an individual went back in time and changed your votes based on any number of strategies, it would not change anything unless the election had come down to one vote.

The real trick is giving people the perception that they should vote for people they oppose, because voting for people they support would be a "waste." I see a waste of a vote as a vote which isn't used. Voting for a candidate you don't support is much worse than a waste, it is like giving aid to the enemy.

Re:Cool (1)

Lord Apathy (584315) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146681)

I prefer a more honest and open system. Me and my pack of goons trying to beat up you and your pack of goons. There is usually a clear and uncontested winner. With no rules no one can really cheat. See open and honest.

But I really don't care much for the impeachment procedings. A knife in the back does work though.

Re:Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20146769)

Unfortunately, it's hard for me to believe that a third party will ever have a legitimate chance at winning the presidency...

Just remember:

  1. It isn't just the presidency. A president without a Congress that supports him, has rather limited power. One of the reasons the current president is able to wreak so much havoc, is that Congress (even post-2006) mostly does whatever he wants.
  2. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy to not do it because it "can't work."
  3. It's ok if you lose; have the courage. Get the noncorrupt vote from 1% up to 10% and slightly less-courageous people will be willing. Then, next time, maybe you get 20%. And so on, until the bad guys start losing.

well, no (1)

trb (8509) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146241)

The ruling says that vote swapping web sites are legal. I don't see it saying anything about whether vote swapping is legal.

Re:well, no (1)

trb (8509) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146317)

Oops, well, yes. tfa says: "Both the websites' vote-swapping mechanisms and the communication and vote swaps that they enabled were...constitutionally protected." They could have made it clearer in the article, though.

Re:well, no (1, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146353)

What do you mean? It appears twice in the article. Or maybe you meant to say "I could have read a little more closely before making a stupid comment."

Dewey (nearly) beats Truman! (4, Funny)

regular_gonzalez (926606) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146275)

It's a little known fact that this is why Dewey lost to Truman, falling for the old "you vote for me and I'll vote for you" trick. Poor sportsmanship on the part of Harry S, for sure.

Doesn't matter (5, Insightful)

Shagg (99693) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146305)

Diebold is already swapping everybody's vote for cash from the highest bidder.

This would be a good idea if... (5, Interesting)

bitfarmer (219431) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146313)

...everyone voted at a guaranteed same time, instead of across 4+ time zones where the open and close times for each polling station varies.

I recall one of the many controversies in the 2000 election in Florida was some people were staying home in the panhandle (Central Time) because they were being told by the TV talking heads that Florida was already decided (in the rest of the state, Eastern Time) and so their vote didn't count.

NBC's Tom Brokaw actually had an interesting idea -- have the polling take place over a two or three day weekend instead of Tuesday and have ALL the poll stations open and close at exactly the same time irrespective of time zone. That way you mitigate the 'my vote doesn't count' problem as well as making it more convenient for those of us who want to watch 'House MD' on Tuesday night.

Re:This would be a good idea if... (1)

donnyspi (701349) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146457)

As long as we're using the Electoral College, there will always be the "My vote doesn't count" argument.

I like your idea though.

Re:This would be a good idea if... (1)

ajenteks (943860) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146543)

NBC's Tom Brokaw actually had an interesting idea -- have the polling take place over a two or three day weekend instead of Tuesday
And I've read somebody else have the idea to take that a step further and make voting day a national holiday. Sounds wise to me.

Re:This would be a good idea if... (1)

MorderVonAllem (931645) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146677)

Except people will just take that holiday off and not vote.

Re:This would be a good idea if... (3, Informative)

Old VMS Junkie (739626) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146545)

...have the polling take place over a two or three day weekend instead of Tuesday and have ALL the poll stations open and close at exactly the same time irrespective of time zone...

No. Just say no.

I'm a poll worker and we have enough trouble getting volunteers to cover the polls for one day. There is absolutley no way we could get enough bodies to cover for three. As it is now, the senior citizens who work there are fried by 5 and barely make it until 8. If they had to come back the next day, they'd need an ambulance half way through.

Re:This would be a good idea if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20146707)

I have a VMS Programming Manual, Volume 10A, from Digital, in the original binder.

I'll trade it to you for your vote in the 2008 election.

Re:This would be a good idea if... (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146909)

How about we have a national holiday for voting, right after a 'voting weekend', instead of having voting during a single work-day?

Bet this doesn't end here (2, Interesting)

CodeShark (17400) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146339)

For the simple reason that the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the US) is likely to get involved as soon as the State of California appeals the ruling.

Personally I find that this is probably a distasteful ruling -- voting is supposed to be a matter of conscience in one's own locality -- not somewhere across party lines where presumably money could also change hands to encourage the vote swap -- i.e. who says a person can't claim to vote swap with multiple people, or even use a spam list to fake the trades -- thus essentially buying votes -- which IS illegal.

But on the one on one level, since this is America a person ought to be able to say whatever they want short of "fire" in a crowded theater type stuff, so this isn't necessarily a bad ruling.

The question is, what SHOULD the law or at least constitutionality of something like this be given the 'Net?

Thoughts?

Thoughts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20146703)

I think that since nobody can watch me vote and it is an anonymous process, i will sell my vote to the highest bidder.

I promise to vote your money, not my own political leaning..... I promise.

Re:Bet this doesn't end here (4, Interesting)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146713)

voting is supposed to be a matter of conscience in one's own locality

With one major problem - 3rd party candidates can't get elected mostly because everyone knows that 3rd party candidates can't get elected.

I sincerely believe that most people would vote for just about anyone other than Tweedledee(D) and Tweedledum(R), given a serious option. But we all know that doing so effectively throws away our vote, so we settle for the lesser of the two evils.



The question is, what SHOULD the law or at least constitutionality of something like this be given the 'Net?

We shouldn't need to resort to a system such as vote-swapping, which arises only as a symptom of a frustrated populace trying to balance an issue more a matter of perception than actual tallies. If we actually had some form of fair election system like IRV (not saying that IRV doesn't have its flaws, but it does a hell of a lot better than what we have in the US now), we wouldn't need these games, because everyone would vote for who they really wanted, while still getting to pick a "safety" from the big-two.

Re:Bet this doesn't end here (1)

MorderVonAllem (931645) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146809)

I agree with someone else in an earlier thread. If politicians can manipulate the districts so that they get the most votes for their party then the people should be able to manipulate the votes by making districts invalid.

If vote swapping is legal, then... (1, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146397)

Essentially you can collapse the whole thing into a single tier and one voting district. Each district would become overwhelmingly dominated by a single party/voice and therefore all representation is distorted at the lower levels. The whole system collapses in on itself until you reach a layer that is crudely proportional.

Frankly, I think that the only way to prevent abuse is to go to direct democracy. But that requires superior education. At the moment, the US spends $50 per person per year on education. This doesn't seem to be a whole lot. You'd certainly never reach the level of enlightenment required for a stable democracy. The US would also need more leisure time. That's when people get a chance to think and to mature. Besides, it's pretty well established that people will do more productive work on a 35-hour week than a 40+-hour one.

Re:If vote swapping is legal, then... (2, Interesting)

Tickenest (544722) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146487)

At the moment, the US spends $50 per person per year on education. This doesn't seem to be a whole lot. You'd certainly never reach the level of enlightenment required for a stable democracy. The US would also need more leisure time. That's when people get a chance to think and to mature. Besides, it's pretty well established that people will do more productive work on a 35-hour week than a 40+-hour one.

Mmm...sources on the $50 and 35-hour week statements?

Re:If vote swapping is legal, then... (2, Interesting)

goldspider (445116) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146609)

- At the moment, the US spends $50 per person per year on education.
- Besides, it's pretty well established that people will do more productive work on a 35-hour week than a 40+-hour one.

I don't suppose you'd care to cite any sources to back up those claims, especially regarding education. 5 minutes on Google [usatoday.com] brought me to a very different (though slightly dated) per-student spending figure.

Direct democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding on what's for dinner. I imagine the civil rights movement would have ended very differently if the issue had been settled by referendum.

Updated Figures (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146783)

Current data [census.gov] puts the average per-student spending at $8,701. I'm really curious about where you got YOUR figures.

Re:If vote swapping is legal, then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20146721)

At the moment, the US spends $50 per person per year on education.
OK, I'll bite. At least in Minnesota (where I am) I work out $8117.65 spent per child per year on education. I found $13.8 Billion for a two year budget and 850,000 K-12 students.

This all comes from the Minnesota Department of Education site. http://education.state.mn.us/ [state.mn.us]

Re:If vote swapping is legal, then... (1)

moogle001 (563970) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146737)

Where, exactly, do you pull the figure of $50 per person? Are you counting federal or state? Students or the entire population? Also, where is it established that a 35-hr. work schedule makes for greater productivity? In my industry, I'm expecting to be working an average of 50-hrs.

Here's an idea! (3, Insightful)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146477)

How about we have a system where each vote is equal!!

Re:Here's an idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20146529)

There is a reason we are a representative republic. To quote one of the founders, "I would rather be ruled by one tyrant 3000 miles away, than 3000 tyrants 1 mile away."

Re:Here's an idea! (1)

DarkSabreLord (1067044) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146865)

We do! It's just that some people are more equal than others.

The Law v. Inanimate Objects (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20146521)

"beneath criminal statues"? Can they fit under here [galenfrysinger.us] ? When did they make being anthropomorphic and inanimate illegal? If prosecuting websites requires first prosecuting statues, I can see why we have so many inanimate objects in prison...

Plain and simple (1)

Mayhem178 (920970) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146535)

Just because something is legal doesn't make it right. There might be something wrong with the election process in the U.S., but that doesn't mean people should be finding ways to circumvent it, legally or otherwise. What's happening here is a workaround, and workarounds don't typically lead to solutions.

What's so wrong about vote swapping? (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146735)

What's happening here is a workaround, and workarounds don't typically lead to solutions.

That's not necessarily true. Workarounds sometimes allow a problem to build to enough of a critical mass to demand attention instead of just causing people to quit trying like an intractable problem does. Voting in America is definitely a system that a majority of "users" think is flawed and don't bother with anymore.

Just because something is legal doesn't make it right. There might be something wrong with the election process in the U.S., but that doesn't mean people should be finding ways to circumvent it, legally or otherwise.

What exactly is morally or ethically wrong with doing this anyway? In an approval voting system, you'd be able to vote for both candidates. In a direct election system, your vote would be sure to matter.

If the system sucks and isn't as fully democratic as it could be, why not game it for the purposes of making sure the will of the people is reflected more accurately?

Really? (1)

PeterBayles, 32 (1104293) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146589)

I didn't know the courts had taken to gelding.

Stumper Issue (1)

eboluuuh (1139173) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146591)

I can see how it's displeasing to have people selling their votes, but it's a much preferable use, rather than the current trend in the United States (no use). The only real harm that can come from allowing this to happen is somebody loses a few dollars to someone who didn't vote for their candidate.

What is Vote Swapping? (2, Interesting)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146663)

Is this like an old Dilbert comic I read? Dogbert convinced Dilbert that because they were going to vote of opposing candidates, that it would be simpler and have the same effect if they agreed not to vote at all. After not participating in the election, Dilbert realized that Dogbert can't vote anyway. His response? "Not directly anyway."

So is this vote swapping thing related to that in some way?

Insight requested, please. (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146775)

So, how does vote swapping help anything other than make sure parties rule politics instead of individuals? I mean, Bush and McCain are of the same party, Obama and Lieberman are of the same party.

I understand the point of political parties is to get elected and to collectively wield power, but vote swapping seems to undermine the actual election of individuals who are ultimately each responsible for their own upholding of their constitutional oaths.

Tamney Hall also legal? (1)

redelm (54142) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146811)

The 9th has gone wacko again. In making votes (or mor properly, promises to vote) a legitimate item of commerce, they're inviting back the old days of whiskey and money for votes. Tamney Hall.

For whatever ends, this is still called corruption.

Works for me.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20146827)

I don't know what the fuss is over, I swapped my vote with six or seven people, no problem.

No way interstate vote swapping can be legal (1)

moracity (925736) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146923)

This completely violates the way the election system was built. You cannot swap votes with someone in another state because there is no such thing as a national election. All states hold their own elections. When you cast a vote, you are casting it for your state to decide which candidate gets the electoral votes for your state, not as a direct vote for the president (aka, popular vote). This is why it is technically possible for a candidate to win with electoral votes, but lose the popular vote.

Until the constitution is amended to make the popular vote count or eliminate the electoral college, this judge should have his robe taken and should be beaten with large stick. I'm sick of judges trying to change the Constitution and degrade our federation because they think something should be a certain way. They do NOT have the power to amend the Constitution, yet we sit around and let them do it time and time again. Not everything in the Constitution is up for interpretation. Some things are black and white. Individual states can setup elections any way they see fit. in fact, I have no problem with this vote-swapping within a state, if it is sanctioned by the state...which would probably require a change to the state Constitution.

vote swapping wouldn't work anyway (4, Insightful)

deander2 (26173) | more than 6 years ago | (#20146929)

there is no way vote swapping would work anyway. voting is private, and you can't prove how you voted even if you wanted to.

note that this is intentional. (and it's the reason all those voter-receipt-check-that-your-vote-was-counted ideas don't show you HOW you voted) imagine your boss at work saying "everyone bring in your voter receipt wednesday if you want to get a pay check friday!" (or your union leader, who might say "if you want your wife to not have any 'accidents'.")
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