back to article US rules vote swapping legal

A US court has ruled that websites set up to allow people to swop their votes are legal and protected by the Constitution. Back in the heady days of 2000, prior to the election of George W Bush, a couple of websites were set up to allow supporters of independent candidate Ralph Nader and of Democrat candidate Al Gore to trade …

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Errr...

I'm terribly sorry, but I read that as

"...The modern version of tactical vomiting,..."

My..., how descriptive, I thought.

Then I read it again but somehow it wasn't so funny this time...

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Bronze badge

Counting

I thought Florida was lost because they decided not to count the votes, in which case more votes that weren't counted wouldn't make much difference!

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Not vote swapping

The practice mentioned in the article is actually "vote-pairing" in which a person in one voting district agrees to vote for a particular candidate in return for the person in a second district agreeing to vote for a particular candidate in that district.

Seems like an ideal process for an unscrupulous political party (if you can imagine such a thing) to get into. A mass email campaign, promising to vote for the green candidate in one district if all the email addressees promise to vote for the unscrupulous party's candidate in their district - and then not holding up their (the unscrupulous party's) end of the bargain.

Or am I being too cynical?

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For Matt

On Nov. 12, 2001, The New York Times ran a front page article that began: "A comprehensive review of the uncounted Florida ballots from last year's presidential election reveals that George W. Bush would have won even if the United States Supreme Court had allowed the statewide manual recount of the votes that the Florida Supreme Court had ordered to go forward."

Given the BDS status of the NYT, is there any further doubt that GWB won?

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Not too cynical

Nope, you're not too cynical. I could see democratic AND republican parites both doing this, and then using some weasley logic to argue that there's no law against lying about a vote swap, so therefore nothing wrong was done. I would expect it more likely to see the reuplicans doing this, but honestly, the deomcratic party is corrupt as hell too.

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What about the other 50 percent?

Strikes me it would be way more profitable to get out the half of the population that can't be arsed to vote than relying on the honesty of the half that can.

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The other half

Strikes me it would be way more profitable if the politicians were more aligned with the spirit of their profession and less obsessed with the mechanics.

Succumbing to the propogandist notion that all of those who don't vote can't be "arsed" is to miss the point completely. Many of us find the prospect of having to choose between a plate of dog shit and a bowl of cow shit so repugnant, we demur. Actively.

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look at what they do

Look at the way they vote they aren't doing anything that they said they would it's just that all politicians work for corporations all of them and so voting is not required to get the same result just elect someone.

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Anonymous Coward

For Jim Black

Yes. There were still all the votes that were illegally prevented from being cast in the first place.

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proportional representation

Winner take all is not full democracy but just a shadow of it.... If there were proportional representation (i.e. 10% of the vote means 10% of the seats), everyone would vote for who they wanted and the problem would be minimized. The obvious problem with single seats (i.e. governer, president) could again be minimized with a 2nd and 3rd choice. If your first choice candidate gets the fewest votes (so is out of the running), your second choice candidate will receive your vote, then your third..

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Spoil, not abstain

Actually, Markie, if you don't turn up you are not counted and your protest is not registered. So you get the government you deserve. You should spoil your ballot if you are really disenfranchised as these are actually counted. Or get off your arse and stand for election.

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et al

@Matt:

"I thought Florida was lost because they decided not to count the votes, in which case more votes that weren't counted wouldn't make much difference!"

Actually, as another commenter posted, GWB would have won anyway, and for the record, it was because they didn't want to count the ballots for the THIRD time. The supreme court ruled that a candidate could request a recount, but could not dictate the METHOD of recount. Gore had requested a recount, which Florida did. Then he wanted a recount BY HAND. The supreme court ruled that Florida had met their obligations already.

@Markie Dussard:

In my opinion, if you don't vote, you lose your right to complain about the state of affairs. Try doing something about it for a change.

@Chris Bradshaw:

When it comes to how the USA elects our president, I agree the system is flawed. The house of representatives, for the most part, is quite proportional. One district is more liberal, so they elect a democrat to represent them. Another is more conservative, so they elect a republican. My state (Washington) has seventeen electoral districts, so we send 17 representatives to the national capital. Some of them are conservatives. Some are liberals.

The senate, however, is two seats per state, period. This is intended to protect states with fewer residents from getting trampled by the larger states, as they would if we only had the House.

I would like to see a revision of election law to make proportional voting in the electoral college more accepted. Currently, most states are winner take all for their electoral votes -- so if Gore gets one more vote than Bush in california, Gore gets all 54 electoral votes. Kind of sucks, IMO. I still like the electoral college, as it does protect the smaller states from being ignored completely in presidential campaigns, but making proportional electoral voting more mainstream would be a good way to make it more representative of the people, at least on a state-by-state level.

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Senate Elections

I propose that U.S. Senate elections be made more representative of the wishes of the people by elminating the elections entirely. Then the duly elected legislature of each state can appoint its Senators to represent the state's interests.

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