Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Ninth Circuit Rules "Vote-Swapping" Legal

Back in 2000, those crazy kids on the internet had the idea to create a web site where people in safe states could swap their vote for Al Gore with a person in a swing state who wanted to vote for Ralph Nader.

Of course, it was all based on the honor system, and there was nothing to stop voters in safe states from voting for Nader anyway (to "send a message" or something) but I guess it was one more arrow in the quiver in a desperate attempt to prevent Naderites from handing this country over to George W. Bush and his coterie of Regents Death Eaters.

Yes, it's illegal to pay someone to vote a certain way (is that true Ed Rollins?) but this hardly qualified. But the busybodies who are so very concerned about the fairness of U.S. elections decided it was illegal, and the outraged California Secretary of State, Bill Jones, (yes these guys have real power) yammered about prosecutions so the websites shut down. Next stop: President Stupid.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled, (just in time!) sensibly, that the website's efforts to unite voters interested in "vote-swapping" is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Court writes:

"Both the websites' vote-swapping mechanisms and the communication and vote swaps that they enabled were... constitutionally protected. At their core, they amounted to efforts by politically engaged people to support their preferred candidates and to avoid election results that they feared would contravene the preferences of a majority of voters in closely contested states. Whether or not one agrees with these voters' tactics, such efforts, when conducted honestly and without money changing hands, are at the heart of the liberty safeguarded by the First Amendment."


The Internet and blogging has gotten even more popular since 2000, so I've heard. This has great schoolyard potential. It used to kids would trade baseball cards or Pokemon or whatever. Now maybe you can trade one Kucinich vote in New York for an Edwards in Iowa, or something.

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