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eBay The Vote

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the one-way-to-get-the-vote-out dept.

The Almighty Buck 228

Internet Voting writes "Voters in Argentina's upcoming presidential election have found an interesting solution to their political apathy: eBay. 'New and unused' votes are being posted from $0.30 to $95. Electoral authorities say they're powerless to stop it. 'Argentine electoral authorities say they can do little to stop the practice because it falls into a legal vacuum. One of the voters, Martin Minue, a doctor from the northern province of Rioja, told a newspaper it was his way to protest against useless politicians. Mr Minue, 33, told the Clarin paper he felt powerless to change the country's situation. The doctor, who works in the city of Chilecito, posted his vote on an auction website with a price tag of 20 pesos (US$6).'"

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This is HIGHLY illegal in the US (5, Informative)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21045973)

Before anyone gets too excited about the prospect, it is illegal to buy [cnn.com] or sell [slate.com] votes in the United States. If you do it, eBay will pull your auction and you will likely be charged by your local authorities to the tune of thousands of dollars in fines, possibly even jail time.

The funny thing is that the most insidious vote-buying in the country isn't politicians (or other citizens) buying citizens' votes, it's corporations buying politicians' votes. If they outlawed THAT, then we might start making some progress.

Re:This is HIGHLY illegal in the US (4, Funny)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 6 years ago | (#21045995)

if by THAT you mean politicians, I cheerfully agree :)

Re:This is HIGHLY illegal in the US (5, Informative)

sdkramer (411640) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046097)

Interesting while buying and selling are illegal, in most locations in the US trading isn't illegal. I don't remember if any of you recall the Nader vote trading schemes that were going on in 2000.

Here's an article from wired in 2000 that will explain:
http://www.wired.com/politics/law/news/2000/10/39860 [wired.com]

Re:This is HIGHLY illegal in the US (1)

Ariphim (958142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046123)

How is this not like Presidential candidates promising tax rebates and such during campaigns? They are affectively buys people's votes with their own money.

Re:This is HIGHLY illegal in the US (2, Interesting)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046601)

How is this not like Presidential candidates promising tax rebates and such during campaigns? They are affectively buys people's votes with their own money.

The word you're looking for is "effectively," and that's the word makes all the difference.

There's a huge difference between buying votes with money and buying votes with promises. I know, this will probably get modded flamebait, but it's directly relevant to the comment.

The most blatant vote-buying scheme in recent history that I can remember was the Bush "tax rebate" scheme that he rode into office on in 2000. It basically worked like this: "If you elect me (Bush), I'll send you a check for up to $600." Unfortunately, that was perfectly legal, people got their checks from the government, and because of that and other foolish financial decisions, our country went from having a budget surplus to having more debt than it's ever had in history, over 9 trillion dollars [brillig.com] and counting.

I'd love to see all elected politicians charged some percentage of the debt that the policies they enact rack up. If they rack up a few trillion dollars in national debt, they should rack up a few million in personal debt. If they end up with a surplus, they should get a bonus based on that same percent. If we could pass something like that, then and only then I think we would start seeing the start of real fiscal responsibility.

You had me up to the surplus bit (1)

benhocking (724439) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046735)

I can just imagine the taxes that could get initiated in order to (legally) increase the personal coffers of future politicians. As for the consequences of running a deficit, I whole-heartedly agree—in theory. In practice, however, which politicians would you penalize? All members of Congress and the President? Once you start dividing it up into specific bills and votes it gets a whole lot more complicated.

Re:This is HIGHLY illegal in the US (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21046873)

> The most blatant vote-buying scheme in recent history that I can remember was the Bush "tax rebate" scheme that he rode into office on in 2000. It basically worked like this: "If you elect me (Bush), I'll send you a check for up to $600."

On one level, it was bad economics and good politics. It was "I'll cut tax rates mid-year and send you your refund in advance, rather than at tax time". Gained lots of political capital, but was designed to draw people into stupid money management choices.

On another level, it was good policy but bad politics. The lower tax rates have been in effect ever since. Most people have forgotten about that, even though they're still saving the money. No more political capital can be had from it, because 90% of the voters thought it was a one-time gift of $300, and they outvote the 10% of us that appreciate the impact of the lower tax rates we've had ever since.

On the third level, Hillary!'s $5000 "baby bond" (and her subsequent backing down to "$1000 for poor folks' 401(k)s and not a goddamn thing for anyone else) is so fucking blatant an attempt at bribing the voters with their own money that it makes Bush look honest. Just what the tax code needs: Another 1-line entry on the 1040 that directs the taxpayer to a 20-line worksheet that phases most of the actual money out.

Re:This is HIGHLY illegal in the US (3, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046935)

There's a huge difference between buying votes with money and buying votes with promises.

Yes, because the promises are worthless.

Re:This is HIGHLY illegal in the US (1)

monkeyboythom (796957) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046149)

The OP has never voted before or been to a polling place all day?

Or even seen the electoral process in Chicago or any place in West Virginia?

Where is the moderation tag, "Naive"?

Re:This is HIGHLY illegal in the US (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046347)

Yea, but doing on eBay would fall under the mod tag "Stupid."

That money trail would be easily followable. Somewhat harder to find someone trading votes for wine bottles in a park.

Re:This is HIGHLY illegal in the US (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046585)

True, and technically a quid pro quo of campaign donations for specific votes on specific bills is illegal. I'm pretty sure it is. But you can as an entity, donate based upon an issue that may be reflected in any bill.

Re:This is HIGHLY illegal in the US (1)

keithjr (1091829) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046163)

The funny thing is that the most insidious vote-buying in the country isn't politicians (or other citizens) buying citizens' votes, it's corporations buying politicians' votes. If they outlawed THAT, then we might start making some progress.
Not entirely...politicians buying votes with promises of tax breaks should count a little bit.

Re:This is HIGHLY illegal in the US (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21046317)

"Not entirely...politicians buying votes with promises of increased welfare benefits, "free" healthcare, increased Social Security benefits, and a higher minimum wage should count a WHOLE FUCKING LOT."

FYP.

Re:This is HIGHLY illegal in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21046171)

The vote trading was found legal, and I wonder if it's actually illegal to sell the fact that you voted as opposed to who you voted for. For example, if somebody said they were going to give $1 to anybody on the voting rolls that hasn't been on any previous election I think that might be a gray area as opposed to giving $1 to certain people that voted (ie your party).

In any case if it is illegal then the government should just do it... give everybody $1 for showing up to vote, a kind of poll anti-tax. Hell they give you a cookie for giving blood and a vote is far more valuable.

Re:This is HIGHLY illegal in the US (1)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046497)

The polling place I used to use had brownies and lemonade, but I guess that's the luck of the draw.

Re:This is HIGHLY illegal in the US (1)

recharged95 (782975) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046681)

"it is illegal to buy or sell votes in the United States"

BUT is it illegal to buy or sell candidates (on ebay)?

USA Not So Different... (3, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046007)

This year's spending by candidates in the Presidential election is going to be something like 2 billion dollars. For that kind of money, the political parties could just give everyone in the USA $10, and quit wasting everyone's time with stupid commercials. Those people who are politically active don't need to see them, and those people who are not don't give a poo, so, why bother?

Re:USA Not So Different... (1)

JustinKSU (517405) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046109)

Those people who are politically active don't need to see them, and those people who are not don't give a poo, so, why bother?
Because traditionally voters vote for one of the candidates they are most familiar with. For many people who sit in front of the TV every night, they are going to be most familiar with the candidates with the most ads. They are not going to be voting for Ron Paul, even if his ideals are closest to theirs.

Re:USA Not So Different... (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046593)

Because traditionally voters vote for one of the candidates they are most familiar with.
"Vote for Jeff Johnson [imdb.com] , The Name You Know."

Clearly these young democracies have much to learn (1)

sdkramer (411640) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046011)

In the US we know our vote is worth far less than $0.30. Must be that runaway Argentine inflation.

none of the above (4, Interesting)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046015)

One of the voters, Martin Minue, a doctor from the northern province of Rioja, told a newspaper it was his way to protest against useless politicians.

I've always felt that a better way would be to add a "none of the above" option to the ballot. Right now, either you like Candidate A or Candidate B, and if you don't like either one, you might as well stay home, or vote the lesser of evils. If you could actually record your sentiments, we might get better candidates.

Re:none of the above (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21046115)

I'm opposed to the concept of voting for the lessor of two evils, it's just wrong.

Therefore I typically vote for the evil of two lessors. Or the Cowboy Neal option if both of those $uck.

Re:none of the above (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21046119)

That's stupid. If enough people vote "none of the above", then what do you get? Whatever the the election commission decides? Who's running the election commission? It certainly isn't "none of the above".

Re:none of the above (1)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046177)

That's stupid. If enough people vote "none of the above", then what do you get?

You get what you get now. the person with the highest number of votes. but at least you can track whether people are staying home because they're lazy, or they're staying home because they don't like the candidates.

Re:none of the above (2, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046257)

How about a new election? Eventually, we'd get down to one based on issues, not money, because two or three failed elections over a short period would financially bankrupt both major political parties (they're already morally bankrupt, financial bankruptcy might help correct things).

Re:none of the above (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046605)

That was my answer as well. It wouldn't take many 'none of the above' elections to run through the typical dumbass candidates and end up with some that actually take a stand... And if enough minor elections do it first, we may not even need to vote that way in the major ones.

But let's call it something else: None of the above are worthy of office.

That'll say exactly what it means. Simply 'none of the above' implies that they might be worthy, you just aren't going to vote for them... Possibly because you like someone else better that isn't in the election for whatever reason. By expliciting having them state that the candidates aren't worthy, you can elminate them from future runs of the current election, ensuring other candidates will get a chance.

Call me cynical (1)

benhocking (724439) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046911)

It wouldn't take many 'none of the above' elections to run through the typical dumbass candidates and end up with some that actually take a stand...
Actually, I'd say it wouldn't take many 'none of the above' elections to run through the candidates who are genuinely interested in our country (if we have any to begin with) and end up with some that have a lot of money to blow...

Re:none of the above (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046201)

I like the idea, assuming it's reported by the Media it sends a message about the general publics opinion of the candidates. If something like 70% of the population is voting "none of the above", and the winning candidate wins with 20% of the vote, it means that people really don't like him all that much. Would be better than that 70% either not voting, or voting randomly.

Re:none of the above (2, Informative)

hjf (703092) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046803)

http://ecomchaco.com.ar/Elecciones/2007Septiembre/Cuadros.asp?Cuadro=cVotosDist.asp [ecomchaco.com.ar] here you can see the elections in my province last month, for governor. On the top right you can see "votantes/total" 500000 out of 700000. That means 200.000 people didn't show up to vote (it's mandatory here, except for people over 75). Then in the detail, in the blue boxes you can see the blank/null/recurred/void votes. That's the "none of the above". So basically 1/5th of the population voted for "none". Who wins? The one with the most votes, of course.

Re:none of the above (1)

rodney dill (631059) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046269)

That's stupid. If enough people vote "none of the above", then what do you get?

The answer is just like a slashdot poll -- CowboyNeil --

Re:none of the above (1)

Llywelyn (531070) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046141)

Best would be to change the system of voting entirely. Approval voting would mean that you could do a "protest vote" and vote for *every candidate but those two yahoos*.

Though that doesn't mean I wouldn't also like to see how many found "none of the above" to be any good .

Re:none of the above (1)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046263)

Approval voting (and Instand Runoff) is a half-baked solution. Check out this site about Condorcet Ranked Pairs [condorcet.org] , including their criticism of Approval Voting [condorcet.org] .

Re:none of the above (1)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046569)

I wouldn't call IRV half-baked. I would call it the less theoretically perfect. On the other hand, I would say that it has a lot of social aspects in which it comes out ahead of RP. Democracy is a system of trade-offs, and one in which theory falls secondary to real world usability. RP voting is never going to happen on a widespread scale until we somehow manage to raise the median IQ and lower the median laziness of the voting public. However, IRV is already happening in some locations and actually has a shot at eventually being used in the national races. It is less theoretically perfect than RP, but it is much better than plurality and actually gives 3rd party candidates a chance at breaking the two party gridlock. So I'm all for IRV until we manage to get that utopia thing up and running.

Re:none of the above (1)

Llywelyn (531070) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046821)

Comparing Approval Voting to IRV is disingenuous. The problems with AV aren't even in the same league as those with IRV, which has similar problems to plurality.

Condorcet is more complex, frequently requires software to count properly, and would require substantial changes to the voting infrastructure. Approval voting can be done with minor modifications to existing ballots, can be counted by hand, and is easy to explain to laypeople.

The page you cite has some issues. Taking the second example, which is artificial in nature since it assumes everyone in a limited pool uses the exact same voting strategy (why would I only specify my top choice if I find others acceptable?). Let's say, for example, that the people who ranked C first by and large considered both A and B to honestly be both roughly equivalently unacceptable (which could very well happen if their policies are similar, which the page suggests). Now 71% of the voters consider consider A unacceptable, 69% of the voters consider B unacceptable, and 60% of the voters consider C unacceptable.

C is clearly the best of the bad options.

His continuation of "well this could happen if A and B compromised" is completely artificial in nature. It also changes the above numbers:
71% consider A unacceptable.
60% consider C unacceptable.
40% consider B unacceptable.

Clearly B is the best option here. If the people voting for A do not consider B acceptable, then we get the prior circumstance and clearly the most acceptable choice to the most people (or least unacceptable) choice is still winning.

Re:none of the above (2, Insightful)

Ctrl-Z (28806) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046151)

You know, you can just leave your ballot blank.

Re:none of the above (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046393)

Isn't that then counted as a spoiled vote or something, a bit like voting for both?

IIRC I think Australia has some form of "none" vote, but they have a "you must go and vote" law.

Re:none of the above (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046823)

Isn't that then counted as a spoiled vote or something, a bit like voting for both?
It's called an "undervote". It is effectively the same as voting "None of the Above". The problem is, this is almost never reported by the media, so you only end up hearing how many votes were cast for each of the candidates.

Re:none of the above (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046695)

You know, you can just leave your ballot blank.
I believe that's called an undervote, and may result in either your entire ballot being uncounted or manually counted by someone who may just decide to count/mark it themselves for whomever they want to win.

Blank vote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21046285)

Actually, vote is compulsive (in the 18-70 age range, beyond that is optative).

We use an envelope to vote. You can vote blank by just not putting any paper inside the envelope before giving it away.

You can also get your vote void by putting more than one paper (of a given category), or putting any unrelated thing in the envelope.

Re:none of the above (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046379)

"Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws." - Amschel Mayer Rothschild
Boy is that one coming home to roost.

 

Re:none of the above (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21046397)

In the Netherlands it is actually possible to cast a "blank vote" (blanco stem). It is accounted for while calculating the percentage of voters which showed up, but your vote is not going to any person or party. It is traditionally regarded as a protest vote, because you took the effort to show up at the election. (I usually try to pick the least of all evils, to act as a counter balance.)

Re:none of the above (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046489)

I've always felt that a better way would be to add a "none of the above" option to the ballot. Right now, either you like Candidate A or Candidate B, and if you don't like either one, you might as well stay home, or vote the lesser of evils. If you could actually record your sentiments, we might get better candidates.

Instead, perhaps what could be done is to allow voters to grade each candidate. Say there are 5 candidates, and the voters wants Candidate A to win, they could then give A 5 points. Then they could give the next one a 4, or nothing. All of the points for each candidate is then added up and the one with the highest total wins the presidency with the next highest being elected vice president. Of course if people have problems with hanging chads then they will have more problems with this.

Falcon

Re:none of the above (1)

ericspinder (146776) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046877)

All of the points for each candidate is then added up and the one with the highest total wins the presidency with the next highest being elected vice president.
Actually, that is how 'we' orignally picked our President and Vice-President , this was changed by the [cornell.edu] 12th Amendment [cornell.edu] , and it was probably a good thing. Personally, I think that Instant runoff voting [wikipedia.org] is pretty interesting.

Re:none of the above (2, Funny)

AlHunt (982887) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046563)

I'm actually considering waging a write-in campaign for myself for all open offices.

"Vote Al for Everything"

I will promise to be a do-nothing politician. I'll make no initiatives and promise to vote against anything and everything. I will promote gridlock and attempt to grind government to a total halt.

My Universal Campaign Motto:

"Vote for Al - Leaving you the hell alone for almost 50 years"

Re:none of the above (1)

PachmanP (881352) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046859)

Well you have my vote. I'd help you campaing but that would violate your leave me the hell alone motto...

Re:none of the above (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046725)

Well... in Mexico we usually vote for Cantinflas [wikipedia.org] or Brozo [wikipedia.org] when none of the "legal" candidates are good (which is very often^W^Walways).

Write it in (was Re:none of the above) (1)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046755)

If I'm seriously opposed to / offended by all listed candidates for an office, I have written in ``None of the above'' --- the elections folks hate it, 'cause they have to file paperwork on every name voted for (including non-names like this), but it does my conscience good.

William

Re:none of the above (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046763)

I've always felt that a better way would be to add a "none of the above" option to the ballot.

Better yet would be a switch to a ranked voting method. Instead of voting for candidate A, B, or None, you rank all candidates in the order you prefer them. When counting the votes, the two with the most are determined, then the winner is selected by how many people ranked that one higher.

The benefit of this system is multiple, similar candidates don't steal votes from each other in such a way that the majority gets a candidate they strongly disagree with. People no longer have to vote strategically. Have you ever heard a person say they'd vote for a third party candidate but they know they won't win and they want to stop the republican or democrat from winning? With such a system you could vote for three third party candidates then the democratic candidate and if none of the third party candidates had enough votes your vote would go for the democrat.

Sadly such a system will likely never be implemented in the US. All the people who could create voting reform were elected by the current system, so they almost always have a vested interest in keeping things the way they are and making sure it remains a two party system. I doubt there will ever be a grassroots movement because I don't think US citizens care or are educated or have confidence that the system is not rigged. Still, if you're advocating change, we might as well advocate the best option.

Re:none of the above (1)

mudimba (254750) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046897)

I don't know which country you are writing from. But, don't most places let you write in a vote? I always figured that this was the same as a none of the above. Surely your write in candidate is not going to win, but your vote will show up as an "other".

Re:none of the above (2, Interesting)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046943)

In the US, there is a very good "none of the above" option: Vote for a party other than Republicans or Democrats.

In most states, your party needs 5% of the votes to be acknowledged as a political party, given federal funding, and invited to all the debates. In the last presidential election, about 50% of the people voted. That's enough votes that if the apathetic 50% just voted COMPLETELY RANDOMLY then we would have 10 new full-fledged political parties. Can you imagine what an immense shake-up it would be to have 12 political parties given federal funding and invited to the debates? Given equal air time? It would completely change the political climate in the U.S.

Or if only 2 other parties get onto the ballot: let's say Green and Libertarian. Then the apathetic majority just gave these two groups 25% of the vote. Enough to win the presidency!

So do yourself and your fellow American a favor, and vote "none of the above" in the next election.

Ambition (5, Funny)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046051)

So, how much to buy all the votes? I sure "President of Argentina" would look good on the ol' resume. Might be a good investment.

Re:Ambition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21046461)

If vote buying is coming out of your pocket, I would recommend you not purchase ALL of the votes, but instead focus on obtaining a MAJORITY of them.

Re:Ambition (1)

Lugae (88858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046519)

Can I be vice, applekid? Make every day iFest?

Forbidding this is not part of a democracy (4, Interesting)

Bragador (1036480) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046063)

In a democracy, you have the right to vote and the right to be heard. You also have the right to democratically select a dictatorship. If the citizens want to be bought voluntarily and sell their freedom, a democracy should let them do that. If not, it's not a true democracy.

Re:Forbidding this is not part of a democracy (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046225)

You're being inconsistent. You claim "you also have the right to democratically select a dictatorship" so according to you democracy can chose to pass laws restricting freedom.

Then you say "If the citizens want to be bought voluntarily and sell their freedom, a democracy should let them do that. If not, it's not a true democracy."

What if they democratically decide to forbid vote selling and buying? If you accept the idea of democracy selecting a dictatoship surely you accept the idea that democracy can chose to outlaw vote selling.

If democracy is inherently ethically good - which is the view held by many people - then democratic choice must be inherently ethically good. However since democratic vote can be anti-democratic, those many people face a dilemna (and unfortunately, no they don't disappear in a puff of logical contradiction)

Re:Forbidding this is not part of a democracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21046279)

Unfortunately people are too stupid to be allowed a true democracy. This is basically the same reason why anarchy could never work. Way too many people are selfish assholes that don't consider the long term consequences of their actions.

Of course the very definition of democracy itself is open to debate so maybe none of this applies and your statement is wrong.

Re:Forbidding this is not part of a democracy (1)

kebes (861706) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046309)

In a democracy, you have the right to vote and the right to be heard. You also have the right to democratically select a dictatorship. If the citizens want to be bought voluntarily and sell their freedom, a democracy should let them do that. If not, it's not a true democracy.
You're right, assuming that the definition of "true democracy" is "the communal will of the people is enacted."

However an alternate definition of "true democracy" is "the people will always have the power to affect governance." The difference here being that under this definition, electing a dictator is not democratic, because even if it corresponds to the desires of the current populace, it removes the ability for future citizens (descendants, immigrants, or even the original voters if they change their mind) to select a new government/leader. (Unless, of course, the dictator continued to hold and honor the electoral process, in which case he wouldn't really be a dictator.)

I would argue that this consideration for "freedoms of future citizens" is in fact fundamental to democracy, and is in fact what most people intend when they say "democracy." The "communal will of the people" version of democracy is actually more extreme than most people intend when they discuss/support democracy, because it can be used to blindly eliminate freedoms, as your thought experiment demonstrates.

Re:Forbidding this is not part of a democracy (3, Insightful)

Chysn (898420) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046325)

> In a democracy, you ... have the right to democratically select a dictatorship.

But in a republic, we DON'T have the right to democratically select a dictatorship. We've got a political abstraction layer known as the system of "checks and balances," and one of its functions is to protect the system (not the government, mind you, but the system) from the citizens. After all, we don't just have our own generation to think about; we can fail ourselves, but the heirs to our mistakes at least need some chance to recover.

Re:Forbidding this is not part of a democracy (1)

g0rAngA (1131007) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046339)

Perhaps what you say is true, but no government will work without a certain amount of regulation.
Someone at some point decided that it would not be truly democratic to allow people's votes to be bought. And it may be for the best (I happen to believe it should be allowed, btw).

Elections here in Australia are compulsory. If you don't vote on or before the election day, you will be fined an annoyingly large amount of money (I think its like $500, don't really know). Many might argue that that isn't truly democratic, either. But I think its for the best, nonetheless, because most people try to do it right, instead of just donkey-voting. It leads to a result that more accurately represents the will of the population, IMHO.

No, I haven't really based any of this any any hard evidence, or statistics. Its just me looking at how things are and seeing what works well.

Re:Forbidding this is not part of a democracy (2, Interesting)

Arterion (941661) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046985)

It's not a true democracy if there are elections anyway. In a true democracy, the people would rule, by either voting directly on issues, OR instead of elected representatives, the representatives would be chosen at random [wikipedia.org] . Anything else, and you will eventually end up with an plutocracy -- which is what's happened in the U.S.

Re:Forbidding this is not part of a democracy (1)

Peaker (72084) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047089)

Actually, most democracies outlaw parties that publicly denounce the democratic regime.

Good thing (2, Insightful)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046091)

This deligitimizes the democratic process, it breaks the mystic belief of people "participating" in the political process.

This belief is dangerous because people gamble with it, they figure they can gain an advantage against the others by pushing their own views on the political scene. In the end, only the political class wins and everyone is fooled into perpuating a system that strive at their own expense by they believing they can game it. In a country like Argentina, where presidents are often openly kleptocrats, it is easy to shake the belief... some countries have more subtle leaders and the myth is harder to shake.

Re:Good thing (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046329)

In what country are the leaders NOT kleptocrats? The only difference between leaders is that some are more adept at hiding the loot than others.

Re:Good thing (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046487)

Well the acceptation of kleptocrat generally implies a certain lack of subtelty and a massive scale but otherwise, agreed.

Re:Good thing (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046577)

The OP stated "openly kleptocrats", which leaves open the possibility that they all are, everywhere.

Here in the US we seldom get to see objective evidence [talkingpointsmemo.com] that we've elected one, so that when we do we can still pretend that he is just one bad apple and his 430 some odd peers are just as clean as their press releases lead us to believe.

so what do you prefer? (1, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046491)

see, the funny thing with your point of view is that your typical lowest common denominator cynicism might sound intelligent and wise, but it's not in the least. real intelligence and wisdom considers ALL of the problems associated with governing a country. real intelligence and wisdom asks us to pick the best system of a bunch of imperfect systems available to us. no system is perfect (which is the starting point for your criticism of democracy), but no system is superior to democracy. this is real intelligence and wisdom

you? you start off conveniently forgetting the small issue of the need to pick one (imperfect) governmental style. propaganda, like blowhard cynics like yourself, is another form of speech that traffics in half-truths: things that sound smart and wise... except for the point about forgetting a massively important concept in the formation of your opinions: you need a government (unless your next step is to champion anarchy... pffft, enjoy somalia friend)

the idea of your lack of belief in democracy is that there is some governmental system superior to it. so please, point it out to me, we have plenty of options avaiable to us: theocracy, as in iran? technocracy, as in china? authoertarianism, as in russia? despotism, as in north korea?

oh great swami who has shown us why democracy sucks: please, by all means, show us the superior system. you tell me friend, you're the "smart" cynical one

according to you, democracy perpetuates rule by some self-appointed aristocratic minority whose agenda runs counter to the mases who elect them. this concept of course, is complete and utter bullshit. but of course EVERY OTHER system before us EXPLICITLY AUTHORIZES the existence of a self-anointed minority to rule a country. fancy that, oh great genius

you're a typical empty nihilistic asshole. happy to corrupt the belief in anything, but not offering belief in anything superior. the world, and history, is full of people like you. very loud, very superior sounding, and very empty

"Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." - Winston Churchill

http://beyondtheblog.wordpress.com/2007/02/20/the-problem-with-democracy/ [wordpress.com]

What? (1)

JK_the_Slacker (1175625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046111)

That doctor could take a few lessons from Congress. $6 is WAY too little to let your vote go for.

OMG they are forging ahead! (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046215)

We Americans used to lead the world in having free markets and market driven economies. Now these third world countries are getting ahead of us. We need to work extra hard to catch up!

this happens a lot in the philippines (1, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046223)

during elections, it is joked that 200 peso notes become scarce because they are all being used for paying for votes

my own point of view is that a government is no better than its citizens. so a lot of people will point at how helpessness to elicit change brings them to the point of selling votes (or not voting), but this is a poor scapegoat of their own failure in ethics. learned helplessness is not so much helplessness as perpetuated upon you, but the perpetuation of helplessness in your own condition by your own actions

just because you feel powerless does not actually mean you are. if you are in a country with a vote, you count. end of story. anything you believe contrary to that fact is your own self-perpetuated myth of victimhood, to let yourself off the hook, when really your actions (selling your vote or not voting) makes you more culpable than anyone else.

of course, when you say this to some people, you immediately run into a strong negative reaction. see boring and typical responses to my comment below: how dare you blame me for my helplessness!, blame [insert your favorite bogeyman]!

blaming people who don't vote or sell their vote for the sorry state of the world runs counter to the myths such people tell themselves that are so vital to explaining away their own personal responsibility. there are plenty of people in this world who do bad things and who blame their won victims or the devil or society, or any other random bogeymen when they ar ein fact the ones who have committed the crime. it is exactly the same with not voting/ selling your vote

people who don't vote, and people who sell their vote, are more responsible for the sorry state of the world than any elected official ever could be. if you don't vote, or you sell your vote, you are the source of evil and corruption and suffering in this world, no one else

to those in argentina, and the philippines, and elsewhere, who don't vote or sell their vote and have a problem with something in this world: look in the mirror. you're the source of it. those who do bad things in this world COUNT ON YOU NOT VOTING/ SELLING YOUR VOTE. your whining inaction and self-learned helplessness and no sense of personal responsibility is perhaps the number one hurdle to progress in this world on almost every issue you can think of

Re:this happens a lot in the philippines (3, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046449)

people who don't vote, and people who sell their vote, are more responsible for the sorry state of the world than any elected official ever could be. if you don't vote, or you sell your vote, you are the source of evil and corruption and suffering in this world, no one else

I disagree.

If, for instance, you live in a region where the vast majority of the citizens continually vote for some corrupt politician, then there really is nothing you can do to fix it. You're in a minority, and the majority wants the corrupt politician in power. So what harm is there in selling your vote, or not voting? Of course, this is a hypothetical scenario, but I believe it's valid.

Not voting at all is a bad idea, however, if the overall voter turn-out is low, because then you have far more chance to make a difference. But if the turn-out is very high, and it's all against you, then there's really very little point to voting, other than trying to show support for an unpopular choice. Your best course of action is to either ignore politics and learn to live with it somehow, or pack up and move to greener pastures, where the fellow citizens aren't so stupid.

You're right when you say that "a government is no better than its citizens". When a country like, for instance, Mexico, has utterly corrupt politicians and everyone is dirt poor while a few people are extremely wealthy, and the country's rich resources go unexploited, the fault ultimately lies at the feet of the people. One way or another, they have the power to change things, and they're too lazy or fearful to do so.

The question... (4, Funny)

rodney dill (631059) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046235)

that comes to mind isn't whether or not to sell your vote for $95, its how many time can you sell it for $95

Re:The question... (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046727)

I was thinking the same thing. How does the buyer know the seller actually voted that way. That or they didn't charge multiple people to vote the same way.

Re:The question... (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047083)

Of course, once you've made all that money, don't you have better things to do than vote?

Sad (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046247)

On a national level, it's sad to see people sell off their freedom.

But what's even more sad is that on a personal level, selling your vote actually makes sense. The probably of YOUR vote actually being the swing vote in a national election is practically 0, so *your* doing it, alone, will not make any difference on the election but *will* put a couple bucks in your pocket. Sort of a variation on tragedy of the commons. I wish we in the US could return to when authority was more decentralized, when the "states" were worthy of the title and counties (not countries but counties) actually had some authority. Now it's pretty much one President governing 300,000,000 people, with Congress occasionally doing something which may or may not be vetoed.

Re:Sad (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046321)

How has voting anything to do with freedom? A ballot is a bullet ! It's not freedom, it's a way to take other people's freedom away !

Receiptless Voting (2, Insightful)

sahrss (565657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046255)

I would just like to point out that this kind of thing is why a democracy cannot allow a record of which citizen voted for what to exist (like voting receipts, where a name is tied to voting for a candidate, or a public table of name->vote).

Since (in the US) there's currently no way to verify a voter voted a certain way, Ebaying of votes can't hard democracy because someone can "sell" their vote and still anonymously vote any way they like.

Note this is not the same thing as disallowing a paper trail. You do want a paper trail of votes and voters separately, just not a paper trail of who voted what.

Re:Receiptless Voting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21046387)

can't harm democracy

Unlimited Supply (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046313)

So I sell my vote on eBay. You buy it, I get your money. Then I don't vote, or vote however I want. What do you do about it? You can't even prove that I didn't "deliver".

This scenario is one of the most elementary scams avoided by the anonymous secret ballots available for centuries. Any fool who buys these unprovable votes should just send me a fat PayPal load right now.

Whichever anonymous twit over at the BBC News / Americas who wrote that article ignored that basic fact of this story.

Re:Unlimited Supply (1)

leonbloy (812294) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046533)

I don't think any of the sellers expects someone to buy that. More on the joking line, I'd say. The FA points at that ("It is a kind of protest and joke at the same time") though the Slashdot summary deleted out the "joke" mention... (the story seemed less irrelevent in that way, I guess) BTW, I live in Argentina.

Re:Unlimited Supply (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046995)

I get the joke. TFA also mentioned that one seller's photo shows them holding a glass up to the camera, implying an alcohol toast, implying a nonserious person or offer.

But so much journalism is some kind of coded implication that it's heavy labor to sort out all the joke articles from the serious ones. Especially when so many of the stories are preposterous, yet true, yet extremely important (like digital voting).

I bet the BBC edited some of the info that made it clear that it's a joke. Like the impossibility of enforcing the "sale", as I described. Which makes the story itself more part of the mass media's work to discredit verified voting by (unaccountably) implying that "Internet + voting" = "vote buying".

Re:Unlimited Supply (1)

coredog64 (1001648) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046657)

Yeah, I mean it's not like there's any way to vote that doesn't involve physical presence. It would
really open the door to anarchy if there was some portable way to vote. Hmm, maybe if I sold somebody
a ballot that they could use to impersonate me. Perhaps in such a system the ballots would be collected
by an existing infrastructure. I think the postal service might be able to handle the load.

As long as we're not allowing citizens to vote by mail, we're safe.

Re:Unlimited Supply (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046951)

If you untwisted that comment from its oscillations between sarcasm and straight talk we might be able to discuss it.

Re:Unlimited Supply (3, Informative)

hjf (703092) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046701)

I live in Argentina. Well, the problem is that voting is not a right or a privilege, is an obligation. You're required to vote, else you could be fined or sent to jail.

So, for this, every person 18 years or older is a registered voter ("empadronado", because he's in the "padron electoral"). This is a database with your name and address, so you're assigned the nearest public school to vote. Votes are Sundays 8AM to 6PM ("8 a 18"). When you go to vote, they stamp your DNI (Documento Nacional de Identidad), with the date of your vote and the number of 'table' where you vote (you're assigned a school based on your address and a table, alphabetically).

You come to the table and give the "presidente de mesa" your DNI (it's a little book with your data). He, and the rest of the "fiscales de mesa" will mark your name on the padron. You will be given an envelope, stamped with the table stamp, and signed by all the fiscales. You walk into the "cuarto oscuro" (dark room), close the door, pick your boleta (ballot), neatly fold it and put it in your envelope. You close your envelope and walk out, and put it on the "urna" (the box where you put your vote). Then they will give your your DNI back and you're done.

You CANNOT make any kind of comments about your vote, you can't wear clothes relating to a specific party, and make signs or gestures or whatever. You will be dettained by the Gendarmes, fined and/or sent to jail (very rare). If you can't find your ballot, you can't ask for one, you need to go outside and tell to the president that "some ballots are missing".

At 6PM the door closes, everyone that is inside is allowed to vote. When everyone has finished, the urnas are opened and ballots counted, and summarized. Then every ballot is put back in the box, and the box is closed again. The official post picks up the boxes and the summary. It is then telegraphed (faxed, actually) to the "centro de computos", where it's loaded into a database. For some cases, as in my province, this database is publicly accessible and you can see the votes with granularity down to the table (i.e. you can see how many votes --valid, absent, and void-- were in each of the tables, for each of the candidates). For my province, you can see http://ecomchaco.com.ar/Elecciones/ [ecomchaco.com.ar] We're the poorest province in the country, yet for some reason the data for this has been available online in real time since 1995.

Within a couple of hours the results are pretty much known. If the candidate/s require so, the ballots are recounted (for example in the case of a very small margin).

So yes, I can prove that you delivered (I ask you to show me your stamped DNI). But I can't, of course, prove that you voted for me (you could have voted for anyone, blank-voted, or void-voted.. that is rip your ballot or something).

Re:Unlimited Supply (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047057)

Thanks for that detailed walkthru of an Argentinian Election Day. Satisfying to the curiosity.

But how is that a "problem"? Sounds like the vote buyer can, at most, enforce the legally mandatory voting by the seller. Which means that all that can be sold is one's escape from one's voting obligation, which sounds like a great way to "privatize" enforcement of the voting obligation. Though why the buyer would pay for such a privilege, seeing the DNI stamp, is beyond me. At least, in such a scattered way as selling the enforcement on eBay.

Though it does all add up to an interesting "Get Out the Vote" system in the US, where $millions are spent every election, without nearly the same reliable results as getting a receipt from the voter for their participation, in exchange for maybe a dollar or two. Such a system might get the poor to represent in the election better, which might drive the competing classes to do so themselves.

Re:Unlimited Supply (1)

1001011010110101 (305349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047077)

You're required to vote, else you could be fined or sent to jail.
I also live in Argentina, and I haven't voted in like 15 years. No fine, no jail. I think there's some kind of amnesty after every election.

The fine for not voting can only be changed by law, and it hasn't been updated by congress in like 30 years, and with the inflation in argentina, I think the fine is currently like 0.001 pesos, but nonetheless, its not enforced at all.

I quit voting (4, Interesting)

nate nice (672391) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046353)

I used to believe that my vote mattered and that there were "issues" being decided. But I eventually got smart and figured out it's all BS and it really doesn't matter how you vote. Politics are more or less an illusion created to distract us while we are more or less put into servitude by the elite. You're in essence given two polarizing choices and you pick a side. Suddenly the world is black and white. Right and wrong and nothing in between.

People site and listen and watch their party blare propaganda to them and they get angry and fed up with the other side who is evil of course. Meanwhile, both sides are laughing all the way to the bank as they receive payoffs from special interests funding their propaganda machine.

I stopped voting awhile ago and don't plan on going back. I wish I could sell my vote for market value.

Re:I quit voting (3, Interesting)

jdigriz (676802) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046749)

The reason you think voting doesn't matter is that you're voting at the wrong time. These two candidates don't just pop into existence! They're selected during the primary process. If you were involved during the primary elections (unlike 91% of voters) your vote would count for much more and you'd have a broad field of choices. It's because people are apathetic and uninvolved in Party politics that they keep being handed two weasels to choose from! You get the candidates that someone is willing to put effort into, and if the broader public doesn't care, small groups with pet agendas certainly do and will dominate the underattended primaries and the political parties as well.

How do you prove who you voted for? (1)

Tracy Reed (3563) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046429)

I just RTFA'd and I still don't get it. Even if I wanted to sell my vote how would I prove that I voted the way they wanted me to? We don't get a receipt showing exactly how we voted for exactly this reason plus if we did we could be extorted to vote a certain way since proof is then available.

Blocks (1)

bigattichouse (527527) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046441)

As an entrepreneur it would seem logical to me to buy up these votes, and then sell the large blocks - where they could be more effective Mike

Slashvertisment! (1)

ZZeta (743322) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046479)

And in view of Slashdot's 10th Aniversary, let me invite all Argentinians to read politics.slashdot.org..

As the tagline goes: Politics for Nerds. Your vote matters.

Not so hard to stop (1)

saterdaies (842986) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046483)

So, you say you're going to sell me your vote for $10. I pay you $10 and tell you to vote for X. Election day comes, you vote for Y. I ask you, did you vote for X? You say yes. I'm an idiot. When you have a secret ballot, who is stupid enough to purchase a vote. I'd love to sell mine, though, since I could still vote for whomever I wanted.

Re:Not so hard to stop (1)

jpbelang (79439) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046855)

I give you my voted ballot. You go in the booth with my ballot and your blank ballot. To get the money, you have to give me back a blank ballot. I then take the blank ballot you gave me to purchase my next vote.

This is purely abstract and would not work with ebay. But it's still an idea :-)

I guess this means that.... (1)

8127972 (73495) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046529)

... All your votes are belong to us!

Proof of vote? (2, Interesting)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046571)

How does the buyer of the vote verify that it was actually cast as paid for?

.. here it comes ... (-1, Troll)

gentimjs (930934) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046583)

Queue all the crazy right wingers to tell us "now , lets think about this." and how free market principles have some place in a democratic election process .... *rolls eyes*

This is so bad..... (1)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046617)

All this points to is the failing of democracy. Whether it stems from voter apathy, or lack in democracy itself, all I can hope is this doesn't spread.

I know there are lots of people in the US who would gladly sell off their vote because it doesn't matter. I won't name the state I live in, but the person who I am likely to vote for is not in the majority, therefore, my vote really doesn't count in the end.

Which is why I am all for getting rid of the electoral college.

Can we have an electoral elemetary school? That might work better.....

Re:This is so bad..... (1)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046903)

Yeah, let's lose the electoral college and disenfrachise everyone not in a big city. Sorry, pal, but I would like Presidential candidates to at least pretend to have an interest in rural and suburban America. The solution to the electoral college isn't to get rid of it. Not sure what it is, and it probably can't be fixed to everyone's contentment, but just going with a straight popular vote won't work.

Recycling (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046671)

'New and unused' votes are being posted from $0.30 to $95.

So what's the going rate for second hand or slightly used votes? After all recycling helps the environment.

Interesting (1)

Skiron (735617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21046683)

I think this idea could be acceptable in most countries (whether legal or not) due to the total apathy of the way democracy is going. Nobody wants to vote the people in that are up for voting, so what is best?

No vote? Or sell your vote?

Being in the UK, it doesn't matter who I vote for - the person that supposedly gets voted in will not represent me in Government, so I may as well sell my vote and get money for it (which under Blairs Government already happened in Birmingham).

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/west_midlands/4406575.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Interesting protest, but (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21047047)

It's an interesting protest. I was in Buenos Aires until a couple days ago and I saw some people "selling" their votes on the street. While this is interesting, I am not sure how constructive it is.

Most attempts to "fix politics" "from the outside" result in bloodshed and in even more broken political systems. Politics can only be fixed from the inside.

Maybe the doctor could try to run on the next elections.

How hard it is in Argentina?
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