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How Much is Your Right to Vote Worth? 857

Posted by samzenpus
from the how-much-are-you-offering dept.
Attila Dimedici writes "Two thirds of the students at NYU would give up their right to vote in the next election for a full scholarship. Some would be satisfied with an ipod. A few would be willing to give up the right for the rest of their lives for one million dollars."
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How Much is Your Right to Vote Worth?

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  • Frankly... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fyngyrz (762201) * on Thursday November 15, 2007 @08:56AM (#21362425) Homepage Journal

    How Much is Your Right to Vote Worth?

    Theoretically, if we had candidates that represented us instead of the interests of corporations and special interest groups, our right to vote would be worth a great deal.

    However, since our choices are limited to list A of sycophants or list B of sycophants, I'm thinking the college kids have over-valued the vote.

    We can't elect anyone worth much to the general population, we can't get them impeached when they break the laws, violate the constitution, torture, engage in warmaking, arrest without probable cause, hold people incommunicado without hearings for extended periods of time, make a huge industry out of imprisoning the population for personal choices about what intoxicants they prefer...

    Yes, I'd say an ipod is worth considerably more than a vote is today. It shouldn't be; but here we are.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2007 @09:04AM (#21362503)

      Yes, I'd say an ipod is worth considerably more than a vote is today. It shouldn't be; but here we are.
      Well it costs about $100 million to run for President which makes each vote (considering turnout and a roughly even split) worth about $1-$2. You can't just start giving away iPods for votes with only a $100 million budget. Well, except in Ohio.
      • Re:Frankly... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Forge (2456) <kevinforge AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday November 15, 2007 @10:40AM (#21363751) Homepage Journal
        Wrong premise. An election campaign is different from vote buying. It's more like candidate selling. I.e. convince the voter to spend his currency (vote) on your product (candidate).

        There is of course another possibility. According to this clip [youtube.com]. A significant number of collage students will give up the vote for no charge at all.

        I have to stop here and put on my male-chauvinist-pig's armour and wait for the feminist onslaught.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Red Flayer (890720)

        Well it costs about $100 million to run for President which makes each vote (considering turnout and a roughly even split) worth about $1-$2. You can't just start giving away iPods for votes with only a $100 million budget

        You don't need to buy all the votes; just enough cover the margin of victory of your opponent if you weren't buying votes.

        This may be as few as, say, 100,000 votes in a handful of critical swing states. A rough guesstimate of 500,000 votes total, or $200 per vote. My math says a vote is

        • Re:Frankly... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by hey! (33014) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @12:42PM (#21365683) Homepage Journal
          Political power can be measured by the number of choices of potentially winning coalitions a voter can join. Since voters in solid red or blue states only have one potential winning side to join, they have no choice of winning sides to join; they can either choose the side that always wins or the side that always loses. This means solid red or blue state voters have no political power in the election.

          Therefore, only votes of people in swing states have any economic value. In 2008 the battleground states are: Arkansas,Colorado, Florida,Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri,Ohio,New Hampshire,Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania,Virginia, Wisconsin.

          There are several populous states on this list: Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio, but overall the list represents less than 1/3 of the US population. Next, you take a state like Florida, with roughly 17.8M people; discard those ineligible to vote an you have about 11.4 million. Discard those who never vote and you have 5 million left. Discard those who always vote one way or the other, and who knows -- lets say you have about a million people left.

          If that is roughly correct, and similar math plays out in all the swing states, then there probably on the order of five to ten million votes up for grabs in places that matter. Of course a candidate can't spend NO money in places that aren't up for grabs, but if he's spending $100 million on his campaign, it amounts to about $10 - $20 for every vote he is trying to swing. This is not counting proxies who are becoming increasingly important; the total amount spent to elect a candidate is probably impossible to calculate accurately, but is potentially several times higher. We might well be talking about an iPod shuffle per vote swung. We will certainly be within that range within our lifetimes.

          Also, a candidate might decide attempting to sway voters is a bad investment. Instead he might concentrate on getting out more of the people who will vote for him who might not vote. He might also spend money to suppress the turnout of his opponent. This could be an effective strategy: get out your base, convince the base of your opponents and swing voters to stay home. In swing states where swing voters are not plentiful relative to the committed voters, a swift boating campaign along with a few dirty tricks is going to be a lot more effective than influencing people to vote. Doing something that is tantamount to paying people NOT to vote is probably not all that far fetched.
    • Re:Frankly... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nschubach (922175) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @09:06AM (#21362519) Journal
      According to our forefathers, the right to vote is worth your life. My how times have slipped. But I do agree. I can't blame the voter when you have the choices you have today.
      • Re:Frankly... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by kamapuaa (555446) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @09:32AM (#21362821) Homepage
        Logically, you're not capable of voting if you're dead - your statement is patriotic but makes no sense.

        Obviously this whole topic is to be hyperbolic, the point is we're supposed to ignore that $1 million dollars will make a much larger differences to our lives than whether or not we vote, or that the American Revolution was economic more than philosophical - these are *seriously* inconvenient historical facts. Instead the point is to to praise "our forefathers," Mom, Apple Pie, and baseball. Perhaps we can erupt with a few spontaneous rounds of "I'm Proud to Be An American" or "God Bless America" while we're at it.

        • Re:Frankly... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by db32 (862117) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @09:45AM (#21362975) Journal
          You are right...it is aweful that it was economics. We should all still be slaving along as British Empire colonies. I hate to break it to you, but the idea that everyone should be able to make their own money IS philosophical when compared to the status quo of the time. Taxation without representation and all that...hell...most of the British colonies were happy with taxation without brutal killing.
          • Re:Frankly... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by JediTrainer (314273) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @10:05AM (#21363229)
            We should all still be slaving along as British Empire colonies.

            Your friends to the north of you seem to have come out reasonably ok.
        • by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @10:05AM (#21363227) Homepage

          Logically, you're not capable of voting if you're dead
          Sure you can: Lots of dead people have been voting in Chicago since time immemorial.
        • Re:Frankly... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Richthofen80 (412488) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @10:13AM (#21363341) Homepage
          economic more than philosophical

          Without the philosophy, their would have been no economic revolution. The principles that the founding fathers brought forth also happened to be the best principles for economic development. When men are free, they prosper.

          the point is we're supposed to ignore that $1 million dollars will make a much larger differences to our lives

          How useful is 1 million dollars if, in 5 years, the wealth of a nation can be wiped out by irresponsible government? Without the ability to vote, someone could destroy the economic engine that makes dollars worth anything... and we'd be powerless to stop it without being able to vote. See Zimbabwe for an example of a ruined economy via government.
          • Re:Frankly... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Lurker2288 (995635) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @11:36AM (#21364601)
            But the problem is that, I, the individual, can't stop that irresponsible government from doing whatever it wants just by voting against it. Technically, maybe, I can (if I have the deciding vote) but the odds against that happening are miniscule. One the other hand, a million dollars in my pocket now is something tangible. Add to this the fact that the last two American elections have been fraught with allegations of illegal vote tampering and disenfranchisement, and it should be very clear why some people don't put much value on voting nowadays.

            I do wonder, though...the folks who see voting as most important are probably also the best informed about the candidates. Now, assuming there's not a systematic bias that causes one party to be better informed than the others (e.g., assuming that most politically observant people don't naturally become Democrats), then maybe this will just eliminate random noise in the results.

            In any case, I figure that if a given bit of policy strongly effects me, I'll go vote for or against the candidate advocating it. If it doesn't effect me, then why should I care anyway? It's easy to bleat about civic duty, but what duty have I really done if my vote doesn't change the results?
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by FooBarWidget (556006)
            "How useful is 1 million dollars if, in 5 years, the wealth of a nation can be wiped out by irresponsible government?"

            Smart people will take the 1 million dollars and move to a prosperous nation far away with a democratic government.
        • Re:Frankly... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Grym (725290) * on Thursday November 15, 2007 @10:44AM (#21363807)

          Logically, you're not capable of voting if you're dead - your statement is patriotic but makes no sense.

          I realize that some of you have been led to believe that self-interest is all that matters in this world (in which case no amount of human dignity would be worth dying for), but the truth is a representative, accountable government is something worth dying for. The only semi-reliable way to achieve this end has been through the institution of democratic governments. Your vote, while perhaps meaningless to you and maybe even meaningless to the outcome of an election, is a powerful symbol of your heritage as a free, represented citizen.

          that the American Revolution was economic more than philosophical - these are *seriously* inconvenient historical facts.

          Yeah, yeah. You're not the only one that knows about Charles A. Beard's An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States--get over yourself.

          Regardless, the fact remains that there were legitimate grievances against the British Empire. And, besides, doesn't taxation carry both an economic and philosophical component? Furthermore, aren't all exploitative arrangements like colonialism, by definition, immoral? To say that 25,000 American civilians-turned-revolutionaries gave up their lives because they envisioned only an economic benefit would be ridiculous. Furthermore, if Beard's thesis is correct, (i.e. that the founders were just a bunch of fatcats trying to structure the government in a way that only benefited themselves), why would they even bother seriously considering abolishing the institution of slavery? How could such a purely philosophical ideal serve to benefit any of them economically?

          Obviously this whole topic is to be hyperbolic, the point is we're supposed to ignore that $1 million dollars will make a much larger differences to our lives than whether or not we vote

          How much would that one million dollars (or any amount of money, for that matter) be worth if a tyrannical regime decides to take it from you? It's funny how you want to lecture us on history and then assume as if our unusually peaceful domestic situation as a society will hold forever and ever simply because that's all you, yourself, have ever known.

          I can understand antipathy towards modern day politics. What I can't understand are the great number of people who have become convinced that governance is somebody else's problem.

          -Grym

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I'm not sure why this result is so surprising to people. 50% of people are willing to give up their chance to vote for nothing at all, simply because they can't be bothered to go to the polling station. Clearly all those people would be willing to accept a free gift for what they were going to give away for free anyway.
    • Re:Frankly... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Corwn of Amber (802933) <corwinofamber@skyn[ ]be ['et.' in gap]> on Thursday November 15, 2007 @09:08AM (#21362539) Journal
      About the scholarship part, well, since you'll have to serve as a slave for half your life just to repay it, there's no WONDER they'd give up their right to vote.

      The other half of the life as a slave is to pay for house mortgage, cars, and maybe lawyers as needed. Oh, and health, too, because your insurance will find a way not to pay, when you'll need it.
      • Re:Frankly... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2007 @09:36AM (#21362879)
        Looking a gift horse in the mouth anyone? anyone? I don't think you fully appreciate the value of such an opportunity provided to you by our government at ridiculously low long term interest rates.

        Loan slavery? Strange twist in generation perception. No one says you have to buy this new car, when saving $200 for a tune-up on the old car will do just fine, or you fix it yourself. No one says you have to buy this new house, when the kids can double bunk in one room. And, no one says college is a right. Moreover, work 2 jobs and reap the benefits of serving in the Army to finance your way through college, like I did.

        And at 0 to 8% on car to home loans, respectively, your complaining? No. The problem is you expect to have everything else everyone else has. Yes, the X and millenial gen kids never had it so good. It's unfortunate they never realized just how hard it can be, financing your way through life by their own sweat and blood. You think student loans are your shackle and chains? If you take the time, you might see yourself in the mirror wielding the whip in your own hand.

        Loan slavery? Heh. You're a slave to your own devices.
        • Re:Frankly... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Thursday November 15, 2007 @09:49AM (#21363037) Homepage

          And, no one says college is a right.

          When anything more than the dismal world of blue-collar education requires a university degree, it sure is a necessity.

          Moreover, work 2 jobs and reap the benefits of serving in the Army to finance your way through college, like I did.

          Speaking as a Navy veteran, I hardly think that the military is a good way of putting yourself through university. Programmes like the G.I. Bill give you enough money for a second-rate state school. You can't easily get through four years at a decent private university through the military.

          University loans are shackles. Look at students in countries where there isn't a tradition of taking out enormous loans. Once they graduate, they can travel the world for a few years if they want, or work limited hours at part-time jobs and spend more time entertaining at home. In the United States, on the other hand, you are forced immediately into employment to pay back the loans, and by the time you are free to travel, you are old and grey.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by darjen (879890)
          You think artificially low interest rates are a good thing? Well, there is considerable evidence that they are what causes the boom and bust cycles in the economy, so I would say they are quite detrimental to the average joe. The subprime mess the FED has gotten us into would seem to agree. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austrian_Business_Cycle_Theory [wikipedia.org]
        • Re:Frankly... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sm62704 (957197) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @10:18AM (#21363421) Journal
          Looking a gift horse in the mouth anyone?

          Gift horse? Nobody gave me anything.

          I don't think you fully appreciate the value of such an opportunity provided to you by our government at ridiculously low long term interest rates.

          The government isn't loaning the money, the banks are, and they extract their usury. The Student Loans benefit the banks far more than they do the students. Student loans aren't a gift from government to students, they're a gift from government to bankers.

          No one says you have to buy this new house, when the kids can double bunk in one room.

          Nobody ever gave me a first house. My choices are to take out a mortgage or pay rent. Nobody "said" I had to buy the house I'm buying, but it's a hell of a lot better than renting. At least it will be mine in the unlikely event I live to be 85.

          Shelter is a necessity, especially in cold climates. Duh.

          And, no one says college is a right.

          I say it should be. High school has been a right for generations, ever since a high school education was mandatory for work. Now that college is mandatory (all the factory jobs are overseas thanks to our corporate slaveowners) it SHOULD be a right.

          Moreover, work 2 jobs and reap the benefits of serving in the Army to finance your way through college, like I did.

          I did too, as well as taking out student loans, but we shouldn't have had to.

          And at 0 to 8% on car to home loans, respectively, your complaining?

          Yes. Nobody is giving 0% on a mortgage, and they go far higher than 8%. If you're Christian, Muslim or Jew, look up "usury" in your bible. You'll find it's a worse sin than homosexuality. According tho those three religions, all the bankers will burn in hell. I hope you're not a Christian banker!

          Loan slavery? Heh. You're a slave to your own devices.

          No, you have to eat, you have to have a warm place to live, you have to have transportation. You can't live off the fat of the land in your log cabin, shooting rabbits and deer for food. That life was long gone well before I was born, and I'm a geezer. You're a slave to the corporation you work for. Sure you can quit - and become a slave to d different corporation.

          Unless you want to sell drugs or steal or something. Capitalism demands capital, and the only way to get capital is to have capital. A capitalist without capital is a fool.

          -mcgrew
        • Re:Frankly... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by boyko.at.netqos (1024767) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @11:26AM (#21364441)
          I'm astounded that you can think this.

          Looking a gift horse in the mouth anyone? anyone? I don't think you fully appreciate the value of such an opportunity provided to you by our government at ridiculously low long term interest rates.

          It's not the interest rate - it's the declining wage and increasing tuition. Even a public school education will run you $10,000 a year when you're not otherwise making any "real" money - and after you graduate, the jobs are few, far between, and don't pay well - across all fields, the value of the dollar is declining, too, so cost of living expense is going up while wages are going down, meaning it's harder to pay off any loans.

          In other words, it's not the principle of the thing, it's the principal of the thing!

          Loan slavery? Strange twist in generation perception. No one says you have to buy this new car, when saving $200 for a tune-up on the old car will do just fine, or you fix it yourself. No one says you have to buy this new house, when the kids can double bunk in one room. And, no one says college is a right. Moreover, work 2 jobs and reap the benefits of serving in the Army to finance your way through college, like I did.

          Used cars are still damn expensive and you need one to commute to work in most places. Oh, and that $200 for a tune-up? That's 1978 money. Think $1000 if something goes wrong - more if it's something like the transmission.

          Owning your own house is also 1978 thinking - our generation can't afford kids.

          People often say "Work another job" as if it's an option. People are already working two jobs to make ends meet - what's the answer to that? Work a third job? A fourth? It doesn't matter how many jobs you work if the pay's so bad that you can't pay your bills.

          And at 0 to 8% on car to home loans, respectively, your complaining? No. The problem is you expect to have everything else everyone else has. Yes, the X and millenial gen kids never had it so good. It's unfortunate they never realized just how hard it can be, financing your way through life by their own sweat and blood. You think student loans are your shackle and chains? If you take the time, you might see yourself in the mirror wielding the whip in your own hand.

          Look, I'm on the X/Millenial cusp. I'm 28. I've got a good paying job. I can't say how much it is, but it's more than most of my graduating class is getting and less than what most of 1978's graduating class is getting. I've gone only to state schools, not private schools. But it took a damn long time to find this job. I'm one of the lucky ones and I'm still saddled with over $15,000 in debt - and I did everything -right- by your standards.

          Our generation is getting screwed because of people like you thinking that we have it easy. We're not. We're the first generation that's likely to earn less than our parents over the course of our lifetime. We're the first generation to inherit the massive trade deficit and debt. We're the first generation with broken manufacturing unions and outsourcing. And we're not going to join the army where we can get paid less and shot at for no good reason other than to make the people who are screwing us richer!

          I don't think you realized how inflammatory your comments are, but they certainly hit a nerve with me. Maybe you should actually talk to some of those Millenials and Xs that you complain about. Maybe then you'll know why we complain about you.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by pxlmusic (1147117)
      True. Our right to vote is a dog and pony show -- an illusion that We The People(TM) are still in control. The corporate lobbies have already purchased the vote from Congress and the administration. Our votes are worthless, our voices are heard by our "elected" officials as muffled shouting behind soundproof glass.
    • Re:Frankly... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Noonian Soong (1016626) * <soong AT member DOT fsf DOT org> on Thursday November 15, 2007 @09:13AM (#21362603)
      The article didn't surprise me much either. I think many people feel the same way you do. Many people don't use their right to vote, so they actually give it up for free, so why not give it up for an iPod?

      But I think giving up your right to vote is disgusting. Living in a democracy is a privlege. I think it's part of our duty as citizens to be informed, be active and also vote. I know it's hard sometimes to find the right party to vote for but even when you cannot agree with anyone, there's always the possibility to take a more active role yourself. This might be becoming a politician yourself or joining an organization that influences politics. Even if you think the system itself is deficient, you could always try to change the system.

      But many people are not interested anymore. They are uninformed, inactive and don't vote. This way, politicians who do not care about the public good, get away with bad decisions. But I often notice that those people who complain the most, are the ones that don't vote.

      Sometimes I also think it might be a good idea to send people who don't vote on a vacation into a dictatorship. Just for a few weeks or so. But that is of course illegal and I don't really want it to become legal. Still, sometimes I think that sending people away for some time might help them realize what chances they actually have and how they have wasted them so far.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dhasenan (758719)
        Living in a democracy isn't a privilege; it's illegal to deport me to Cuba [I am not a Cuban citizen nor have I ever been to Cuba].

        Unless you're saying that I could easily be deported to Cuba against my will, in which case I would claim that that's an indication that we're in a police state rather than a democracy.
      • Re:Frankly... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Cruise_WD (410599) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @09:34AM (#21362837) Homepage
        "If voting could change things, it would be illegal." - anonymous (AFAIK).

        Anyone with power will seek to keep it. The more power they have, the more they will want to keep it, and the more easily they'll be able to ensure they can keep it.

        This process has been iterating for a long time now. It's somewhat quaint that people think what they do makes the slightest difference to those in power :P
      • Re:Frankly... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 10101001 10101001 (732688) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @10:11AM (#21363315) Journal

        I know it's hard sometimes to find the right party to vote for ...

        There are pro-life Democrats and pro-choice Republicans. Perhaps the problem is too many people voting for the "right party" instead of the "right person"?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by darjen (879890)
        Democracy is not a privilege, it is every bit as immoral as any other form of government force. Voting to me really is a complete waste of time, given that it won't change anything. Actually, it costs me time and gas to participate. And after that, I'll still be giving up to 50% of my income to the government with no real alternative. Being able to choose which corrupt, pork-laden politician who will take the money from me is no consolation. Yes, I'd gladly sell my right to vote for an Ipod. Especially an I
    • by Coryoth (254751)

      Theoretically, if we had candidates that represented us instead of the interests of corporations and special interest groups, our right to vote would be worth a great deal.

      Ah, but there's the real key: if someone gives you enough money to join the ranks of corporations and special interest groups then you won't need to worry about voting anymore. I have to say that $1 million is rather low balling it -- I expect several hundred million would be better minimum in this day and age. Of course if you don't live in a country where politicians consistently support rich corporations and wealthy individuals you might want to keep your right to vote...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Firethorn (177587)
        If the cost of an ipod or two is all it takes to buy a vote*, for a million dollars I could simply buy somebody else's vote each year and still come out ahead.

        Heck, radio ads aren't that expensive, I could spend $10k out of my $100k annual interest off the million bucks and buy some radio time, which should garner a few votes for the candidates/issues of my choice.

        I know I'd be awfully tempted if you offered me a million bucks. As long as it doesn't prohibit me from political activities.

        *Yes, I know the ar
    • If the candidates are equally good (or bad) to someone, it doesn't matter whom he votes. However, if a significant portion of people gives up their right to vote, one cannot reasonably expect the behavior of all the candidates to remain the same.
    • Re:Frankly... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Elemenope (905108) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @09:18AM (#21362653)

      Frankly...that's a load of horse. People bitch and complain about how there are no choices except "sycophant A or sycophant B", but that is literally untrue. Even in the major parties--yeah, that's right, both parties--there are candidates of forthright honesty and ideological integrity (or at least consistancy) whose concerns seem to tend more toward their constituents than toward the powers-that-be.

      It is depressingly cynical to look at a field of candidates that include men like Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich and then turn around and say "yep, all the candidates are the same old thing, not worth a damn, believe in nothing but power for its own sake, care only about themselves, etc.". The right to vote is important and useful to use, and if there are men like that in the field, to use that vote to support them. Unelectability is a buzzword to convince people to not use their vote to matter; Abraham Lincoln was an "unelectable" nobody from the boondocks, and look how that turned out.

    • Re:Frankly... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TheMeuge (645043) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @09:20AM (#21362671)
      Well at least if we sell our votes directly, the special interests would vie for our attention.

      As it stands now, the voters have largely been sidelined, and to pursue their interests companies only have to buy the attention of a few politicians, which makes bribery a prudent and cheap business option. For instance, RIAA campaign donations of $2000-5000 seem to be sufficient to have their way. If they needed to buy the unconditional support of the general population, it wouldn't be nearly as inexpensive.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Echo God (1189515)
      There is no constitutional right to vote in federal elections.
  • How much? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Palpitations (1092597) * on Thursday November 15, 2007 @08:57AM (#21362431)
    How much is my vote worth? I can answer that pretty easily...

    Give me enough cash to live on comfortably, buy an island of my own [privateislandsonline.com] where I won't be bothered, enough to bring people I want to visit there, and of course protect against pirates [youtube.com]. Anyone know how much an army of ninjas costs?

    Everyone has their price - that's mine.
    • by mrjb (547783) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @09:01AM (#21362465)
      Protect against pirates? But what about global warming?
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Global Warming is due to a sharp decline of Pirates. Form your own secret island base to stop rogue pirates and perfect pirate evolution. Then flood the Pirate Market with your advanced pirate models.

        Or just stop being a ninny.
      • You know, I tried to work His Noodly Appendage into my comment somewhere, but I just couldn't find a way for it to come naturally... You have a good point though. Perhaps instead of a ninja army I need some pirates of my own...
    • by Morosoph (693565)
      $1 000 000 could probably buy more influence than a lifetime's voting.

      If you can still stand for election, you've probably got yourself a good deal.

    • by pipatron (966506)
      No amount of ninjas will ever take out a pirate.
  • Who wouldn't (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Zatacka (1136621)
    I'd almost say who wouldn't give up their vote for a big material gain? One vote makes a really small difference, and most votes are basically between a douche and a turd.
  • I take a cup of coffee. It's probably not worth it.
    Face facts, in New York, your vote doesn't count. All electors are going to vote for the Democrat candidate.
  • ...then this would be horrible. As it is, selling your vote makes perfect sense. The state of democracy, especially in the US, is disgusting.
  • Actually... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thewiz (24994) * on Thursday November 15, 2007 @09:03AM (#21362497)
    I'll only give up voting when they pry the lever from my cold, dead hands!

    Seriously, even though corporations have control of our government at the moment, voting is not a right that you can sell or give away.

    Vote at the polls, vote by taking action, and vote for yourself as someone who can make our country better.
  • That's OK (Score:3, Funny)

    by ta bu shi da yu (687699) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @09:07AM (#21362525) Homepage
    When I gain power, they'll be the first to the wall.
  • by ZorbaTHut (126196) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @09:07AM (#21362527) Homepage
    I would happily and joyfully give up my right to vote in the next election for one million dollars.

    A quarter of it would go to the Ron Paul campaign, since I really enjoy how he's fucking with the status quo. Half of it would go to the campaign of whatever final candidate I like the best. A quarter would go to me, since I'm greedy that way.

    "But Zorba! How could you give up your vote!" Come on, do you honestly think that the various groups I like couldn't get far more than a single vote with that much cash spent on advertising? I'm not giving up my vote by taking this deal - I'm multiplying it enormously.

    I don't know what the "break-even" point would be on this trade, I'd have to think about that seriously. But if you don't mind going into advertising a little bit, pretty much everyone should be willing to give up their next vote - or even all of their votes - for a sufficient amount of money. Unless the physical action of putting a piece of paper in a box is really that important to you, I suppose.
  • by BenEnglishAtHome (449670) * on Thursday November 15, 2007 @09:08AM (#21362541)
    Voting is a precious right but it exists, in a practical sense, to give people influence over their government. Viewed that way, swapping the right to vote for anything that gives someone a better ability to influence the government is a smart trade.

    How does this work in practice? Large corps have great political influence even though they have no right to vote. What they do have is money. In the real world, then, money applied to the political process is the equivalent of voting.

    Given enough money that I am enabled to influence politics via means other than voting, I would consider selling my right to vote a perfectly rational, even patriotic thing to do.

    In my case, I'm eligible for early retirement and could be politically active in a variety of ways post-retirement, but my pension wouldn't be big enough to give me enough free time to labor toward political goals. With just enough money to augment my pension I'd be free to pursue tasks other than eking out an existence.

    I figure USD$1M would do it, barely. I'd certainly sell my right to vote for USD$5M.
  • I'm an NYU student (Score:2, Interesting)

    by whogben (919335)
    It costs about $160,000 for us to go to NYU for 4 years. A bit more, actually. I'd trade my vote for $160k - imagine the political influence you can have with $160,000. In addition, I'd trade my vote for $160k and then buy votes with iPod touches. Every vote makes a difference, but that kind of money makes more difference.
  • No surprise (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @09:09AM (#21362545) Journal
    Is it any surprise that people value the right to vote differently?

    Obviously, since voter turnout is less than 50%, over half the people in the US value the right to vote less than the amount of effort and time required to actually vote.

    Consider that, from a logical perspective, VALUE(right to vote) == SUM{[IMPACT(act of voting)]/[(COST(act of voting)]}.

    Only when elected government commits truly heinous acts, or actions that directly affect the person in question, does the impact of the act of voting get large enough to make the value of the right to vote very high. This is magnified by the dilution of votes -- if you are in a state with 10 million people, ask yourself -- how much does your vote really count?
  • by LaminatorX (410794) <sabotage@NOspAM.praecantator.com> on Thursday November 15, 2007 @09:09AM (#21362547) Homepage
    You could have far more influence over the government with that $1,000,000 than you ever will by voting.
  • Cool, $2,000,000! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EzInKy (115248) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @09:12AM (#21362579)
    Now all we need is to vote in candidates who are willing to enact a retroactive 200% tax on vote selling and we can pay off the national debt.
     
  • I think you could do a hell of a lot more with one million dollars than you could do with your right to vote in your lifetime.

    Especially if you have my (liberal) political views, since there never going to get into power of any kind.
  • People today don't care about politics. They've got little to gain, and little to lose.

    Perhaps asking the people of teheran/pyongyang/ryadh/... how many months of pay they would give to get a real vote like the americans have would give you another answer.

    Americans, especially young ones, don't care. They've got everything they want, why would you bother them with this politics thing ? Is something wrong ? Just cry until someone solves it and surely it will get solved ...
  • by Altima(BoB) (602987) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @09:18AM (#21362657)
    All this really reveals is priorities:

    "Two thirds of the students at NYU would give up their right to vote in the next election for a full scholarship."

    Okay, so how about they all vote for a candidate who will deliver a European-style Universal Third Level Education?
  • by dhasenan (758719) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @09:21AM (#21362689)
    If it's just US elections, give me the million and I'll set myself up in British Columbia.
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @09:33AM (#21362835) Homepage Journal
    a tacit endorsement of the Steve Jobs for Ultimate Ruler of the World campaign anyway?

    They got my vote!
  • Historically (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lally Singh (3427) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @09:35AM (#21362863) Journal
    The going rate for the year 2000 election was the $200-300 tax rebate Bush promised. I remember, quite explicitly, a colleague saying "I want $200, I'm voting for Bush."

    People don't care about their country, their children's futures, or their own long-term well being. They say they do, but they don't. When it comes down to it, they sell out their souls, their childrens' souls, and their nations souls for a pittance.

    The truth is that people get the government they deserve. A shit government elected by lazy, apathetic, and happily clueless citizens who simply don't deserve better.

    If they did, they wouldn't elect the people they do. The shit politicians we elect are *obviously* shit politicians. Few try and say they're not going to do that, so they vote for the joke politicians: Ron Paul, Ross Perot, whoever. Instead of sitting there with the politician they actually like and voting for them, even when they know they'll fail. Admitting they voted for someone who lost. Instead, we disconnect and feign apathy, as we've spoiled ourselves in our fantasies about what kind of government we deserve. Why do we get so many shit politicians? The good leaders gave up on the US citizenry, for good reason.

    Want proof? How many people pay attention in the primaries, where the good candidates actually show up once in a while?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kraada (300650)
      I live in New York. By the time any of the primaries reach me, the candidate has been decided.

      So why should I pay attention to a race I have no part in?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sm62704 (957197)
      they vote for the joke politicians: Ron Paul, Ross Perot, whoever. Instead of sitting there with the politician they actually like and voting for them, even when they know they'll fail.

      Want proof? How many people pay attention in the primaries, where the good candidates actually show up once in a while?


      What you call a "joke" I call a protest. As I said in an earlier comment, neither wing of the Republicrat Party has a candidate that supports my views and interests. I'll continue splitting my vote between th
  • Two thirds ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Arthur B. (806360) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @09:35AM (#21362875)
    What was the other third thinking ? Seriously I don't think they believe their vote matter or will possibly change anything.... My guess is that democracy represents some kind of religion for them, a cult of the state where each good citizen does his duty by casting his ballot, protecting his precious liberty... in this mindset, their right to vote holds some kind of mystical power. I am glad the two other third don't buy in this naive cult, freedom has always been destroyed through the ballot.
  • a candy bar (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oyenstikker (536040) <slashdotNO@SPAMsbyrne.org> on Thursday November 15, 2007 @09:37AM (#21362897) Homepage Journal
    Federal elections: It doesn't matter who I vote for, the NY electoral votes go to the Democrats.
    State elections: It doesn't matter who I vote for, the NY assembly wastes all the money and asks for more.
    Local elections: It doesn't matter who I vote for, everything is dictated by the federal and state governments, except how much money my town wastes on doomed projects.

    I'd like a Ritter Sport, but would settle for a few Hershey's Kisses.
  • by thefirelane (586885) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @09:45AM (#21362971)
    I gave up my vote, simply for a chance to live and work in Europe.

    Overseas votes aren't counted, unless what? There's a tie... ok.

    I still vote out of ceremony, but I know full well it is tossed into the garbage can each time.
  • Relative value (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @10:10AM (#21363305) Homepage

    I think all this shows is what people perceive their vote is really worth. All you can really do with your vote is join an effort to throw the bums out. Maybe the next set of bums will be better, but it's usually only a matter of degrees.

    A really interesting experiment would be if we allowed US citizens to sell their citizenship to someone else. The deal is once you sell it, you can never get it back. How much would you take to give up your US citizenship forever? That's when we'd find out how serious people really are. It would also give us an idea how the rest of the world views living here.

    Would I sell mine? That's a good question. I'm pretty ashamed of the last seven years of US history and shamed by the 25% still supporting a corrupt, incompetent administration. Seeing Bush in a prison cell next to Cheney and Rove, stand a couple telco execs up against the wall for cooperating with the effort to spy on the American public, purge the FBI and Justice Dept. of anyone who used investigative powers toward political ends...the answer might be different. But I don't see that happening.

    • Re:Relative value (Score:4, Interesting)

      by boyko.at.netqos (1024767) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @11:37AM (#21364615)
      A really interesting experiment would be if we allowed US citizens to sell their citizenship to someone else. The deal is once you sell it, you can never get it back. How much would you take to give up your US citizenship forever? I'd trade my American Citizenship for 96% of Canadian Citizenship in a heartbeat.
  • Not a whole lot (Score:4, Insightful)

    by illuminatedwax (537131) <stdrange AT alumni DOT uchicago DOT edu> on Thursday November 15, 2007 @10:10AM (#21363309) Journal
    Your vote is not worth a lot. That is, your specific, individual vote is worth next to nothing. You can influence all of the elections you would have voted on far more with a million dollars than with a single vote.

    Of course, the point is that the right to vote is priceless. And if everyone could exchange their right to vote for cash, then suddenly that million dollars would not buy you any influence.
  • by Chapter80 (926879) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @10:43AM (#21363797)
    If you want to really cheat the buyer, sell them your lifetime votes for a million dollars. Then kill yourself. That'll teach 'em.
  • Slavery (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @10:59AM (#21364001) Homepage Journal
    I'd like to see how many of those college students would give up their other Constitutionally protected right, freedom from slavery [usconstitution.net]. Would they take a million dollars in exchange for becoming a slave for about 40 years, until they turned 65 years old? Ten million?

    Rights are inalienable. We can't surrender them, though sometimes we can suffer their infringement. The more temporary the infringement, the more voluntary, the more we can suffer it. But any infringement pressures people in a way that inevitably becomes intolerable, and we don't tolerate it. That's why we create governments to protect those rights. Because not only our rights, but the rights of everyone around us, are infringed only at a much greater cost, even if it can sometimes be postponed.
  • by jlar (584848) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @11:10AM (#21364163)
    From Rational Choice Theory you can calculate how much a vote is worth for you (assuming that you are rational):

    http://wikisum.com/w/Riker_and_Ordeshook:_A_theory_of_the_calculus_of_voting [wikisum.com]
  • by GTMoogle (968547) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @12:31PM (#21365497)
    My right to vote is worth the lives of every US politician.

    *cracks knuckles threateningly*

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