Skip to comments.Group looks to minimize Nader's role
Posted on 09/19/2004 6:46:21 PM PDT by alydar
PHILADELPHIA - Pssst! Want your vote to count? In Ohio? Or Florida?
You can now arrange to trade votes with a voter in another state, under a plan created by activists who don't want Ralph Nader to siphon off votes from John Kerry in vital swing states.
On Monday, a group called VotePair.org will start hooking up Kerry voters in "safe" Democratic or Republican states with third-party voters in hotly contested states. The goal: to get would-be third-party voters to vote for Kerry in swing states, in exchange for Kerry voters' voting for Nader or Green Party candidate David Cobb in secure states.
That way, they figure, third-party candidates would get as many popular votes as otherwise, while Kerry would maximize his votes in states where they matter most. For instance, a voter in "safe" New Jersey could agree to vote for Nader, in exchange for a voter in "swing" Ohio agreeing to vote for Kerry.
The vote-trading advocates are haunted by the outcome of the 2000 election, when Nader got enough votes to give George W. Bush the margin of victory in Florida - and the nation. Bush carried Florida by 537 votes, while Nader received 97,488 votes there.
Nationwide, Nader received 2.9 million votes, 2.74 percent of the vote, and many Democrats accused him of costing Al Gore the election.
"Together, Gore and Nader had more than 3 million more votes than Bush," said Jamin Raskin, a law professor at American University who is a legal adviser to VotePair.org. "This time, voters should be as strategic as the campaigns and candidates are."
Raskin and the organizers of VotePair.org insist vote-trading is legal, but state elections officials are not so sure.
"It would appear to be a violation" of Pennsylvania election law, which prohibits giving a voter something of value to influence his vote, said Brian McDonald, a spokesman for Commonwealth Secretary Pedro A. Cortes. "But we can't say for sure. ... It's not something that we're aware has taken place in Pennsylvania."
"The question is, is a vote a valuable thing?" McDonald said. "If someone brought this to a local district attorney, it would be up to their interpretation."
In New Jersey, the issue "has not come before us formally, but we're looking at it with interest," said Leland Moore, a spokesman for Attorney General Peter Harvey.
Raskin said legal objections were "absurd." He compared vote-pairing to the kind of vote-trading that legislators do to support each other's bills.
"It's not vote-buying or selling. No money or material consideration changes hands. Democracy is all about compromises and the formation of coalitions," he said. "You can't make it a crime to change your mind in America."
In 2000, a grass-roots movement of online vote-swapping deals resulted in about 36,000 agreements to trade votes, Raskin said. In that election, several state elections officials, including California Secretary of State Bill Jones, challenged vote-swapping as illegal. The American Civil Liberties Union sued Jones in federal court, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has sent the issue back to a lower court.
The vote-trading efforts may be hampered this election by the smaller pool of Nader voters and by Nader's failure to get on the ballot in some states. Of the 19 "swing" states, Nader is off the ballot in three (Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Arizona), and his presence on the ballot is being challenged in nine others (Ohio, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon and Wisconsin).
The VotePair.org organizers say they will begin linking voters Monday, through their Web site, www.votepair.org. Voters will be paired with other participants by e-mail, so they can communicate with each other and "make sure that their pairing partner is pledging in good faith."
I think we need to FReep this site. Every freeper should join. Then instead of voting for whoever you traded for, vote for Bush instead. This could completely negate the effect of votepair.
This does sound a lot like vote tampering.
I'' give you some "good faith." You tell me you will vote for Nader, and I will.........vote for Bush. Suprise, I lied.
These socialists will do anything to circumvent the will of the people in order to keep their Rats in power.
I like it. Two liberals expecting each other to tell the truth about the vote they will cast?
They did this in 2000 with a site called nadertrader
They'll be putting up votes to buy on E-Bay before long. Dems have no shame.
Some guy already put his vote up on ebay but the auction was canceled by ebay and I think he's under a criminal investigation now.
That's actually a good idea. I'll keep my eyes open and consider it. Either way, we should leak that our plans are to negate it's effect in this way so that people won't even bother risking it.
I live in Joisey. How many Naderites can I trade with? I have a bunch of screen-names...