Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Vote Swapping Vindicated. mostly.

Remember the vote trading sites that sprang up during the 2000 election? They tried to pair up Nader supporters in swing states with Gore supporters in solidly Democratic states, and have them pledge to swap or exchange votes--thereby helping guarantee the 5% that Nader was seeking without damaging Gore's chances of winning. A few hundred of these in Florida might have tipped the race, but that did not occur.

Well, a court case wending its way through the judicial system finally reached partial resolution yesterday. The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the 2000 vote swapping sites were not "vote-buying" and were protected by the First Amendment... at least to the extent that California Secretary of State Bill Jones' threatened lawsuits (which shut down at least one site) were not sufficiently tailored to achieve the state's legitimate purposes (preventing vote buying).

Because such vote swaps were unverifiable and unenforceable, the idea is nifty but will never go anywhere. Only relatives and close friends who trust each other can likely make such things work, and that necessarily means a small scale. Still, the existence of these sites illustrates how voters in states with solid majorities that tilt toward one party or the other feel disenfranchised, no matter which side they are on.

1 comment:

The Law Talking Guy said...

The headline of this blog post should be "First Amendment Vindicated, mostly." Vote swapping may be a dumb idea, but barring people from discussing it or pledging it is not rational where the concern is "buying votes."