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The Almighty Buck Government The Internet Politics

eBay The Vote 228

Posted by Zonk
from the one-way-to-get-the-vote-out dept.
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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eBay The Vote

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  • by KingSkippus (799657) * on Friday October 19, 2007 @01:44PM (#21045973) Homepage Journal

    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.

    • by Arthur B. (806360) on Friday October 19, 2007 @01:45PM (#21045995)
      if by THAT you mean politicians, I cheerfully agree :)
    • by sdkramer (411640) <seth.sethkramer@com> on Friday October 19, 2007 @01:52PM (#21046097) Homepage
      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]
    • 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"?

      • 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.
      • 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.
    • Buying and selling a vote before the election might be illegal, but after the you voted there's all sorts of perks. For example, Candidates hold election night parties for their supporters.

      Now if there were only some way to prove how you voted then this market could really take off. And that's the problem with most of the cryptographic and paper tape voting systems. With nearly every one of these systems yet invented if one were to snap a camera phone picture of the screen or tape at the right moment then
      • Replying to myself. There's another good example of legal vote "buying" in the US and this was the "Nader Trading" that went on. People were trading their vote for nader in one state in return for a vote for another candidate in another state. (the goal was to boost nader's numbers while avoiding the spoiler effect in tight races). Some states did shut down websites doing voteswapping but others did not (oregon for example) . There's a very well research discussion of the legality issue here [unc.edu]

        Additionally
    • is sell time to listen to someone trying to get you to vote a certain way.
  • by tjstork (137384) <todd@bandrowsky.gmail@com> on Friday October 19, 2007 @01:46PM (#21046007) Homepage Journal
    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?
  • none of the above (Score:5, Interesting)

    by User 956 (568564) on Friday October 19, 2007 @01:47PM (#21046015) Homepage
    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.
    • by Llywelyn (531070)
      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 .
      • 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].
        • 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 ha
        • by Llywelyn (531070)
          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 a
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ctrl-Z (28806)
      You know, you can just leave your ballot blank.
      • by IBBoard (1128019)
        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.
        • 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.
      • by HTH NE1 (675604)

        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.
    • by Colin Smith (2679)

      "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.

       
    • 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

      • 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.

      • That's called "semi-proportional" voting, but it does not address all the problems. In particular, it does not address the problem of multiple, similar candidates stealing votes from one another or of third party lock-out. For example, maybe I really want Stephen Colbert to win, but I know he won't so my second choice is democrat Joe Biden followed by republican Ron Paul. Above all I don't want Rudy Giuliani to win. With the system you describe, as wit the current system my best strategy is to give all my

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by AlHunt (982887)
      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"

    • by xtracto (837672)
      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).
    • 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

    • 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. Hav

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MobyDisk (75490)
      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
  • Ambition (Score:5, Funny)

    by Applekid (993327) on Friday October 19, 2007 @01:49PM (#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.
  • by Bragador (1036480) on Friday October 19, 2007 @01:50PM (#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.
    • by Arthur B. (806360)
      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 cho
    • by kebes (861706)

      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

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chysn (898420)
      > 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 cha
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Arterion (941661)
      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.
    • by Peaker (72084)
      Actually, most democracies outlaw parties that publicly denounce the democratic regime.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by E++99 (880734)

      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.

      By that definition there are no "true democracies," and few people would want to live in one, as it wouldn't be very compatible with individual freedom.
    • by magarity (164372)
      You also have the right to democratically select a dictatorship

      An amusing paradox because once the dictator is in power new elections will not be called or won't bring any result other than the dictator being re-elected. Please see: Julius Caesar being elected consul-for-life and what happened to the Roman Republic thereafter and all the other democracies that have ever voted in tyrants. So it depends on whether you take a practical view or demand absolutes. The practical view doesn't insist a d
  • Good thing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Arthur B. (806360) on Friday October 19, 2007 @01:52PM (#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.
    • by anagama (611277)
      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.
      • by Arthur B. (806360)
        Well the acceptation of kleptocrat generally implies a certain lack of subtelty and a massive scale but otherwise, agreed.
      • 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.
    • 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 intelli
  • 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!
  • 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
    • by Grishnakh (216268) on Friday October 19, 2007 @02:13PM (#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.
  • by rodney dill (631059) on Friday October 19, 2007 @02:01PM (#21046235) Journal
    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
    • by Bryansix (761547)
      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.
  • by timeOday (582209)
    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 "

    • by Arthur B. (806360)
      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 !
    • 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.

      Do you ever suggest people read Alexis de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America" [amazon.com]? I suggest it some, it's a good read on how people in the USA used to govern and take care of themse

  • Receiptless Voting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sahrss (565657) on Friday October 19, 2007 @02:02PM (#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.
    • by Kjella (173770)
      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.

      Indeed, I'd go as far as to say that if you want a democratic election and not give a reciept, you *need* a paper trail. The whole essence of voting is that you know what a group of people voted, but not the individuals. With paper each individual can verify two things, first that his vote existed as a correct vote in the first place and second by w
  • 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.
    • 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.
      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        If you untwisted that comment from its oscillations between sarcasm and straight talk we might be able to discuss it.
      • As long as we're not allowing citizens to vote by mail, we're safe.

        Ah but the US does allow voting by mail, it's called Absentee ballots [wikipedia.org]. It is the only way those in the military as well as others can vote.

        Falcon
    • Re:Unlimited Supply (Score:4, Informative)

      by hjf (703092) on Friday October 19, 2007 @02:28PM (#21046701) Homepage
      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).
      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        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 sel
        • by hjf (703092)
          That's how they buy the poor people's votes. In election day, they take them to the voting place, DNI in hand. Then, upon checking the stamp on the DNI, they give you a bag of food or something.

          When you lose your DNI, it's hell. It takes ages (1 year maybe) to get a duplicate. You can't do many things that require a DNI like opening a bank account, or leaving the country (if you don't have a federal police "Cedula", for neighboring countries, or a Passport). Sure, you can do all these things but it's much m
          • by Doc Ruby (173196)
            How do they buy your votes, if the voting is still secret? I guess that people too lame to vote without being paid might just vote for whoever buys their "vote" (their showing at the polls, anyway), even if they don't have to, maybe because that's the only candidate who's name they can recognize.

            The obvious solution is for the government to let anyone with a stamped DNI ride public transit, or even private transit where the public isn't any good, for free, with a free ticket or two. And give everyone someth
      • 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.
        • by hjf (703092)
          In 1995 my mom's boss didn't go, and he was fined like $50. Ha. But you're right, it's the only case I've heard of that. And I doubt that anyone has ever been in jail for this... but the law is there, and there's always the possibility.
          • I think the fine is still $50, but 50 "Pesos Argentinos", which might be 1/100 of a present peso (say, 1/300 of a dolar for you yanks).

            I'm not sure they still control it, I went in and out of the country several times with the ID these years, and I never got any problem.
  • I quit voting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nate nice (672391) on Friday October 19, 2007 @02:07PM (#21046353) Journal
    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: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jdigriz (676802)
      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
      • Re:I quit voting (Score:4, Insightful)

        by smellsofbikes (890263) on Friday October 19, 2007 @05:19PM (#21049395) Journal
        Yes and no. You're right, but you haven't gone far enough. At least in the Democratic party, the place things get started is in the precinct caucus, where everyone gets together and submits suggestions, that get collated into party statements. (I understand it works differently on the Republican side...) When I was running caucuses, a lot of the time a grand total of a dozen people would show up, out of 2000 people who were nominally political enough to have registered and been kept on the voter registration rolls. If a handful of single-issue cranks showed up, they would absolutely swamp the caucus. If an organization encouraged its members to do this across a county or part of the state, it absolutely affected the result, in terms of who was running, what the party planks were, you name it. It's really no different than the Microsoft/OOXML thing: if you can mobilize a very few people in a large number of places, you can have an *enormous* effect on the entire system.

        back to the subject at hand: want to have a part in how things are running? Spend 4 hours, once every two years, at your precinct caucus. Get two friends to do the same, and you can make a difference. Heck, get four friends to show up and vote you as the precinct representative, and take your message to the county level. My mom was a state caucus representative a bunch of times, because she knew a lot of people locally, and she took her pro-abortion, pro-civil-liberties, pro-free-speech message to the state Republicans and made a lot of unwelcome noise. More power to people like that, I say. If the people running this train don't hear dissent, they push the throttle down further, and the entire country is tied to the tracks.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kamineko (851857)
      > I wish I could sell my vote for market value.

      $0.00?
    • If you want things to really change, then instead of not voting, vote for a third party candidate, and convince your similarly-minded friends and family to do the same thing.

      In both cases, your vote is having no effect on the current outcome of the race. But when you vote for a third party rather than not voting at all, it at least works against the self-fulfilling prophecy you are creating now -- whereby a third party cannot win because no one thinks they can.

      I will be voting Libertarian in this and all fu
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • ... All your votes are belong to us!
  • Proof of vote? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by noidentity (188756)
    How does the buyer of the vote verify that it was actually cast as paid for?
    • Re:Proof of vote? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Guillermito (187510) on Friday October 19, 2007 @03:30PM (#21047645) Homepage
      In Argentina there's a way to make sure the guy you are paying to is actually voting for you. It is called "voto calesita" [carousel vote]

      The voting system in Argentina works like this: When you show up to vote you are given a special envelope, signed by the electoral authorities. With that envelope you go into the voting booth, select a ballot with the name of your candidate, and introduce it into the envelope. Then go out of the booth and put the envelope into the ballot box in front of the electoral authorities.

      In order to buy votes, you can take advantage of the system by doing this:

      If you are in charge of buying votes for your party, you show up early in the election place. When you are given the special envelope, you enter the booth and exchange it for a regular envelope that you had concealed. Then you introduce that fake envelope into the ballot box. By doing so, you effectively lose your own vote (when they open the ballot box and count the votes, they discard all the non official envelopes or ballots).

      However, you gain access to an official, signed, envelope. You can put a ballot of your party into it, seal it, and give it to the guy who is selling his vote. That guy would get an empty envelope from the authorities, enter the booth, exchange envelopes and insert the sealed one into the ballot box. Then he would come back to you. Only when he delivers an empty, official envelope, he gets the money for his vote (because you are sure he has put the sealaed envelope YOU had given to him in the ballot box).

      Then... you can use that other empty envelope to do the same thing with the next guy who is selling his vote, and so on. So it doesn't matter that you had lost your first vote, because you can get maybe dozens of votes in exchange.

      This has been routinely done in elections in Argentina for years. No need for eBay or anything like that.
  • 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 elem
  • '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.
  • 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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