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Local DJ submits his vote to a vote!
October 24, 2012 12:45 PM   Subscribe

What are the ramifications of putting one's voting franchise up for a vote?

A local DJ (and a guy I know from high school) is, in fact, putting his vote for the presidency up for a vote in, what, as far as I can tell is a publicity stunt. Link

This has left me with a number of serious questions, along lines like "is this even remotely legal?" and "is this remotely ethical?"
posted by Archelaus to Law & Government (15 answers total)
 


See, I'm not sure I feel like that's the same thing, selfnoise, because he's not proposing to receive money for the vote. He's agreed to vote however this poll turns out.

Regardless, had glanced at this link already, but thank you.
posted by Archelaus at 12:51 PM on October 24, 2012


It's actually not the same question, selfnoise. In the previous question, the OP was asking about selling his vote. In this question, the OP is asking about someone taking a poll as to who he should vote for. No selling.

Legal? I don't know. He's not selling his vote, which is illegal. Ethical? Questionable. It's more skeevy to me, really.
posted by cooker girl at 12:51 PM on October 24, 2012


You can't sell your vote, that's a federal offense, but you can pretty much make up your mind how to vote however you choose.

I don't think it's unethical. It may be stupid and it may be a stunt, but it's his vote to do with as he wishes.
posted by inturnaround at 12:53 PM on October 24, 2012


I should probably include two more questions while I'm considering this:

1) it's a predominantly (heavily) red area of the state, so if mostly just locals vote, wouldn't just voting Romney be faster?

2) If there are no protections on the pool to limit it to his local audience (and there don't appear to be) what's preventing say, /b/ from deciding to make his vote a throwaway for a third party for the lulz?
posted by Archelaus at 12:53 PM on October 24, 2012


I don't know about the legality of it, but as someone who takes my own right to vote very seriously? I'd rather this joker just sat it out.

At the very least, it's unethical.
posted by easily confused at 12:55 PM on October 24, 2012


(Not a lawyer). The legality would highly depend on how the relevant state laws were worded, but I've only seen laws where voting a particular way after some sort of compensation is illegal (either for the buyer or the seller). Since in this case it's just someone deciding to vote with the crowd after holding a poll, I don't think any of them I know about would apply.

it's a predominantly (heavily) red area of the state, so if mostly just locals vote, wouldn't just voting Romney be faster?

Kind of drifting into chatfilter with this one.

If there are no protections on the pool to limit it to his local audience (and there don't appear to be) what's preventing say, /b/ from deciding to make his vote a throwaway for a third party for the lulz?

Pretty much nothing. That is a known problem in any sort of online poll. Normally the fine print of a stunt like this explains that they can decide to cancel the whole thing or pick whatever they want if they don't like the end result.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:58 PM on October 24, 2012


2) If there are no protections on the pool to limit it to his local audience (and there don't appear to be) what's preventing say, /b/ from deciding to make his vote a throwaway for a third party for the lulz?

Nothing. Just like nothing prevents me from making my vote a throwaway for a third party for the lulz, without polling anyone else about it.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:01 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not sure exactly how voting secrecy works in the US but he could just say he is voting for whoever wins the poll. If ballots do not have your name on them how would anyone know who he voted for anyway?
posted by wwax at 1:27 PM on October 24, 2012


If he were in Vermont, this could be construed as a violation of the voter's oath*, though I suppose he could respond that his conscience finds an online poll to be the best way to decide how to vote.

*When I voted absentee in 2004, I was a Vermont resident, and I had to go to the US consulate in Paris and take the voter's oath before a consular official, who then had to sign the envelope on my ballot. Said official was quite puzzled, having never seen the oath before. Vermont is a small state.
posted by brianogilvie at 1:53 PM on October 24, 2012


You cannot SELL your vote, but the First Amendment protects other activities involving offering your vote to be changed (at least in the 9th circuit...) See Porter v. Bowen. It seems reasonable based on that decision that offering your vote up for a vote would be an act of political speech (as opposed to a commercial one, like selling your vote) and would therefore be protected.

See also here for a more readable summary.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 2:00 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


The country is full of people who are deciding whom to vote for (or whether to vote at all) based on polling data (e.g. "I'm not gonna waste my vote on that loser/winner"), but they're not blogging about it. He's using a gimmick and it's not illegal.
posted by rtha at 2:44 PM on October 24, 2012


By the way, since it's a secret ballot, he can lie about this. "I'll vote the way you people say!", but once he's in the voter's booth, how's anyone to really know how he votes?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:35 PM on October 24, 2012


Folks: I've seen a couple of answer-ers here who clearly didn't read the link.

We're in a mail-in state, the ballots are in-hand already, and he said he'll be taking a photo of the finished ballot after.

Updating from my end, I made a -lot- of phonecalls and finally got an answer from the Wa. Sec. of State's office, which called it "legal but contemptible," more or less. So that's settled. Have forwarded it on to various parties I think might be interested, including the local campaigns and some news agencies.
posted by Archelaus at 5:44 PM on October 24, 2012


he said he'll be taking a photo of the finished ballot after

This chart of state laws related to documenting your vote suggests it may be illegal in Washington state (I'm presuming that's where this is occurring based on the fact that you called the Sec. of State's office there) to "photograph[] or film[] one's own vote at the time of voting and afterwards display[] the image on a publicly accessible platform like the Internet." A quick review of the linked Washington state laws doesn't fully support this so it's unclear whether it's accurate, but TREAD CAREFULLY.

(I am not your, or his, lawyer.)
posted by sallybrown at 7:45 PM on October 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


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