Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

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What would you sell your vote for?

Nothing.
32
14%
$5.50.
15
7%
An iPod touch.
17
8%
Free tuition to school.
61
27%
A million dollars.
84
38%
Unsure.
15
7%
 
Total votes: 224

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Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby meatyochre » Sat Jun 26, 2010 1:24 am UTC

I was bitten by a curiosity bug today, and decided to do some reading up on voting. I came across this link to a kinda-old story, but it got me thinking.

http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2 ... o-cast-it/

In America, with the electoral college, it is arguably economically irrational to vote (outside swing states, for sure). Wasting several hours of time waiting in line, maybe even forgoing a partial workday depending on how long they are. I live in Illinois and I did not vote in the last election, because Obama is from Illinois and there was no way our state was not going to go democrat. So I would definitely have sold my vote, given the opportunity.

What would you sell your vote for? Would you be more or less likely to sell your vote if you knew that everybody else could do the same? I myself would be less likely to sell my vote if everybody was offered the opportunity to do so, because I would feel more like my vote matters. As it currently stands, I don't feel my vote matters at all, so I have no compunctions with selling it.

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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby Glmclain » Sat Jun 26, 2010 1:28 am UTC

As long as it's only for one year and I

A. Didn't like either candidate or

B. Still lived in MA. (where there's really no way of going Republican)

I would sell my vote for a years worth of tuition easy. It might not be very "American" but fuck it, school is expensive.
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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby Jahoclave » Sat Jun 26, 2010 1:49 am UTC

Wait, you mean I didn't already sell it to the oil companies and agribuisness? It sure seems that way.

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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby Glass Fractal » Sat Jun 26, 2010 1:50 am UTC

Nothing, but I'll convince as many other people as I can to sell theirs. Eventually I will be the sole decider of American policy!

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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby Not A Raptor » Sat Jun 26, 2010 1:50 am UTC

Jahoclave wrote:Wait, you mean I didn't already sell it to the oil companies and agribuisness? It sure seems that way.

Don't forget Wall Street. Can't forget those assholes.
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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby Jahoclave » Sat Jun 26, 2010 1:55 am UTC

Glass Fractal wrote:Nothing, but I'll convince as many other people as I can to sell theirs. Eventually I will be the sole decider of American policy!

I'm sorry, which multi-national corporation are you the ceo of again?

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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby yoni45 » Sat Jun 26, 2010 2:01 am UTC

I can totally see a whole bunch of commercials spawning with "WE GIVE YOU CA$H FOR YOUR VOTE!", with that creepy cash4gold guy... ^_^

(the vote options should really be adjusted to various arbitrary values of increasing scale -- as in, what's the minimum amount of money you'd be willing to sell your vote for)...
Last edited by yoni45 on Sat Jun 26, 2010 2:03 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby Glass Fractal » Sat Jun 26, 2010 2:02 am UTC

Jahoclave wrote:
Glass Fractal wrote:Nothing, but I'll convince as many other people as I can to sell theirs. Eventually I will be the sole decider of American policy!

I'm sorry, which multi-national corporation are you the ceo of again?


France Telecom o_o

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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby Kayangelus » Sat Jun 26, 2010 2:03 am UTC

depends. Does the person I sell my vote to get 2 votes instead of one? If so, I would be troubled by such a policy being instituted. it would mean corporations could elect whomever they wanted, and screw us all over.

If selling my vote just means there is one less eligible voter, I would sell it for the following things:
iPod touch - just one year's vote
Tuition - however long I am going to college
A million dollars - for my entire life

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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby meatyochre » Sat Jun 26, 2010 2:24 am UTC

yoni45 wrote:(the vote options should really be adjusted to various arbitrary values of increasing scale -- as in, what's the minimum amount of money you'd be willing to sell your vote for)...

They are arranged that way. $5.50<ipod touch<tuition<$1m. They're not arbitrary so much as I ganked them from the linked article.
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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby Goplat » Sat Jun 26, 2010 2:32 am UTC

Kayangelus wrote:it would mean corporations could elect whomever they wanted, and screw us all over.
In other words, things would be exactly the same as they are now.

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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby sourmìlk » Sat Jun 26, 2010 2:59 am UTC

I would sell it for free tuition and $1m. I could make much more of a difference via lobbying and such with that money and potential influence than I could with a single vote. Sad, but true.
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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby Vaniver » Sat Jun 26, 2010 3:10 am UTC

Yeah, I interpreted the "select up to four" as "pick how many of these four you would sell your vote for, or pick no, or pick unsure." Of course, I would do it for any of them, since the dark magics of division highlight how worthless voting is for national elections (I'm not sure I would sell my vote for local elections for that low, but definitely for an iPod touch).
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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby yoni45 » Sat Jun 26, 2010 3:11 am UTC

meatyochre wrote:They are arranged that way. $5.50<ipod touch<tuition<$1m. They're not arbitrary so much as I ganked them from the linked article.


I mean something along the lines of: "Between $0-$100, $101-$1000, $1001-$10000..."
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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby meatyochre » Sat Jun 26, 2010 3:12 am UTC

yoni45 wrote:
meatyochre wrote:They are arranged that way. $5.50<ipod touch<tuition<$1m. They're not arbitrary so much as I ganked them from the linked article.


I mean something along the lines of: "Between $0-$100, $101-$1000, $1001-$10000..."

If you'd prefer such divisions, I guess you could make your own poll. I figured using divisions from the article would be more apropos in the N&A section.
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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby skeptical scientist » Sat Jun 26, 2010 6:35 am UTC

meatyochre wrote:In America, with the electoral college, it is arguably economically irrational to vote (outside swing states, for sure). Wasting several hours of time waiting in line, maybe even forgoing a partial workday depending on how long they are. I live in Illinois and I did not vote in the last election, because Obama is from Illinois and there was no way our state was not going to go democrat. So I would definitely have sold my vote, given the opportunity.

...because everyone knows there's only one item on the ballot.

I selected a million dollars, and nothing else on the list. In truth, I'd probably sell it for a few tens of thousands of dollars, but not for a few thousand dollars. However, I wouldn't want to live in a world where it was legal to buy and sell votes/rights to vote, not even for a million dollars. One person selling their vote doesn't make much difference, but if you make it legal to sell votes, money will buy every single election, instead of whatever large fraction it does now.
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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby Gellert1984 » Sat Jun 26, 2010 6:41 am UTC

Nothing and unsure

I don't like the idea of selling my vote but there are people (I imagine) I would trust enough to sell my vote to. Also if someone offers me 10million then yeah I'm gonna sell my vote and move to mainland Europe.
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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby Patashu » Sat Jun 26, 2010 10:33 am UTC

meatyochre wrote:In America, with the electoral college, it is arguably economically irrational to vote (outside swing states, for sure). Wasting several hours of time waiting in line, maybe even forgoing a partial workday depending on how long they are. I live in Illinois and I did not vote in the last election, because Obama is from Illinois and there was no way our state was not going to go democrat. So I would definitely have sold my vote, given the opportunity.

This is why voting needs to be mandatory.

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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby Woopate » Sat Jun 26, 2010 2:02 pm UTC

I wouldn't so much sell my right to vote as sell my vote. And that would be for either school paid or 1 million dollars. Though, to get my school paid for, I'd do a lot.

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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby Odd_nonposter » Sat Jun 26, 2010 3:57 pm UTC

I would never sell my vote. Ever. Even if it is merely a symbolic gesture anymore, it is a gesture that I must make.

Also because Ohio swings more than a pendulum.
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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby Vaniver » Sat Jun 26, 2010 5:02 pm UTC

Patashu wrote:This is why voting needs to be mandatory.
Why? That makes it less valuable for everyone to vote, and people who decide not to vote are generally people who care the least about the outcome, and thus will put the least energy into selecting their choice.
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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby Zamfir » Sat Jun 26, 2010 6:21 pm UTC

Paul Simon has a song about it, "Sure don't feel like love

I registered to vote today
Felt like a fool
Had to do it anyway
Down at the high school
Thing about the second line.
You know, felt like a fool?
People say it all the time. Even when it's true.
So, who's that conscience sticking on the sole of my shoe?
Who's that conscience sticking on the sole of my shoe?
Cause it sure don't feel like love.

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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby Goplat » Sat Jun 26, 2010 9:02 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Patashu wrote:This is why voting needs to be mandatory.
Why? That makes it less valuable for everyone to vote, and people who decide not to vote are generally people who care the least about the outcome, and thus will put the least energy into selecting their choice.

A rational person could care a whole lot about the outcome, but he still won't vote, because - as you said - one vote is practically worthless, due to the tiny probability of it actually changing the outcome. It's a classic tragedy-of-the-commons situation. All rational people voting could lead to them all getting the best outcome, but as long as they're allowed to choose individually, they will go with the Nash equilibrium (nobody votes), and the result is that only irrational people vote.

That's the theory, anyway. In practice it doesn't matter who votes, because (in America at least) only candidates approved by big money ever get on the ballot anyway.

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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby mmmcannibalism » Sun Jun 27, 2010 3:19 am UTC

A rational person could care a whole lot about the outcome, but he still won't vote, because - as you said - one vote is practically worthless, due to the tiny probability of it actually changing the outcome. It's a classic tragedy-of-the-commons situation. All rational people voting could lead to them all getting the best outcome, but as long as they're allowed to choose individually, they will go with the Nash equilibrium (nobody votes), and the result is that only irrational people vote.

That's the theory, anyway. In practice it doesn't matter who votes, because (in America at least) only candidates approved by big money ever get on the ballot anyway.


So your solution to only candidates approved by big money is to make everyone who doesn't vote be forced to vote? If I'm one of these big money groups; I would salivate at the prospect of uninterested voters being brought to the polls. It would be a brilliant opportunity to use really cheap personal attacks because an even larger percent of the voter base wouldn't be voting based on issues.
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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby Goplat » Sun Jun 27, 2010 4:01 am UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:So your solution to only candidates approved by big money is to make everyone who doesn't vote be forced to vote?
No, I said that it wouldn't fix the problems in the US, because making the best choice doesn't mean much when all the choices are crap.

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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby Sheikh al-Majaneen » Sun Jun 27, 2010 4:16 am UTC

Patashu wrote:
meatyochre wrote:In America, with the electoral college, it is arguably economically irrational to vote (outside swing states, for sure). Wasting several hours of time waiting in line, maybe even forgoing a partial workday depending on how long they are. I live in Illinois and I did not vote in the last election, because Obama is from Illinois and there was no way our state was not going to go democrat. So I would definitely have sold my vote, given the opportunity.

This is why voting needs to be mandatory.

That is among the worst ideas of all time. Think of all the people who should have no business deciding the direction of the country...

For the record, I voted a million dollars. It would be well worth it, too. Georgia will go republican almost certainly (in the presidential election at least), from 96 on. Most people I would want to win will fail--not because they are democrats, since they aren't.

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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby Vaniver » Sun Jun 27, 2010 8:18 am UTC

Interesting alternate question: how much would you pay for a second vote, assuming you are the only person able to do so?

If your answer was significantly lower than the amount you would sell your vote for (i.e. you would require a million dollars to go from 1 vote to 0 votes, but would only pay a thousand dollars to go from 1 vote to 2 votes), why?
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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby thc » Sun Jun 27, 2010 9:01 am UTC

I would sell my vote for any amount of money. (Assuming it was opt-out, so I don't have to put in any effort). I wouldn't pay a single penny for an additional vote.

Oh jeez, I can already hear my parents guilt tripping about this :(

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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby Sharlos » Sun Jun 27, 2010 3:26 pm UTC

Patashu wrote:
meatyochre wrote:In America, with the electoral college, it is arguably economically irrational to vote (outside swing states, for sure). Wasting several hours of time waiting in line, maybe even forgoing a partial workday depending on how long they are. I live in Illinois and I did not vote in the last election, because Obama is from Illinois and there was no way our state was not going to go democrat. So I would definitely have sold my vote, given the opportunity.

This is why voting needs to be mandatory.

Mandatory voting is a terrible idea, and I live in a country where it is mandatory. The only positive thing to come from it is there are no lines, and that's only because the electoral commission knows there's going to be 14 million people turning up to vote.

Apart from that, you have people who really couldn't care less about who is in charge and often just pick at random, number their candidates from the top to bottom of the list, or vote without having a clue about who they're voting for.

Mandatory voting removes your right to vote, something that should never happen.

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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby styrofoam » Mon Jun 28, 2010 1:25 am UTC

1mil dollars. Covers my school, and a long time afterward. If it's college tuition or nothing (I'd try to bargain it up, first), sure, I'd go for free tuition.
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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby Kyrn » Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:33 am UTC

1mil dollars. Then use the existence of the 1 mil dollars to prove there is vote fraud going on.
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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby styrofoam » Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:22 am UTC

Kyrn wrote:1mil dollars. Then use the existence of the 1 mil dollars to prove there is vote fraud going on.

Police: How did you get access to this money?
Kyrn: I ... err ... agreed to sell my vote.
Police: Can I see the contract?
* Kyrn gives the police the contract.
Police: Hm... Seems legal to me. You agreed to vote for whatever they want you to, in exchange for 1 million dollars. Maybe bribery.
Police2: Either way, Kyrn has no case. He either accepted a bribe, and is in trouble, or did a perfectly legal contract.
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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby Kyrn » Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:58 am UTC

styrofoam wrote:
Kyrn wrote:1mil dollars. Then use the existence of the 1 mil dollars to prove there is vote fraud going on.

Police: How did you get access to this money?
Kyrn: I ... err ... agreed to sell my vote.
Police: Can I see the contract?
* Kyrn gives the police the contract.
Police: Hm... Seems legal to me. You agreed to vote for whatever they want you to, in exchange for 1 million dollars. Maybe bribery.
Police2: Either way, Kyrn has no case. He either accepted a bribe, and is in trouble, or did a perfectly legal contract.


1) You are assuming I'm not willing to get myself in trouble, to get the other party in trouble too.
2) I can take reasonable precautions to ensure that I am not seen to be abusing the 1 mil dollars.
3) I have faith in the news-press to overblow this to absurd proportions that would make trying to penalize me a death-dealing blow to any sort of PR.

Also note: Just because it is in a contract does not make it legal. And there would not be any conversation, save for evidence. The same evidence would go to the newspress at the same time.

(For that matter: if you are planning vote fraud, the worst thing you can do is to give a contract. The less connections you have, the better. I specifically choose the 1 mil route because that is not something that can simply be brushed aside.)

(Of cause, odds are, no one would be stupid enough to try this on me. (1) I will not accept post bribes, for obvious reasons. (2) A check or direct deposit would be too tracable. (3) I am also not stupid enough to put myself in a completely secluded location. (4) Where I am, vote fraud is serious business.)

(exception to (1): If the bribe is given to me after I have already voted, I would accept it.. then the above would still apply.)
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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby Plasma Man » Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:22 am UTC

I'd take whatever I could get, and then vote however I would have done. It's a secret ballot, no-one's going to know.
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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby Kyrn » Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:15 am UTC

Plasma Man wrote:I'd take whatever I could get, and then vote however I would have done. It's a secret ballot, no-one's going to know.


That's what you assume. I assume that if someone is going through the efforts to bribe, that it isn't quite as secret as it is led to be.
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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby johnql » Mon Jun 28, 2010 10:33 am UTC

I'd sell my vote for 1 million dollars. Then with the money I'd look for 10,000 people who'd sell their votes to me for $100 each. I'm sure they're out there.

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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby Iv » Mon Jun 28, 2010 10:59 am UTC

johnql wrote:I'd sell my vote for 1 million dollars. Then with the money I'd look for 10,000 people who'd sell their votes to me for $100 each. I'm sure they're out there.

Exactly. Even without buying other people's vote, I think I can make more difference with one million dollar than with one vote.

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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby Patashu » Mon Jun 28, 2010 11:50 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:Interesting alternate question: how much would you pay for a second vote, assuming you are the only person able to do so?

If your answer was significantly lower than the amount you would sell your vote for (i.e. you would require a million dollars to go from 1 vote to 0 votes, but would only pay a thousand dollars to go from 1 vote to 2 votes), why?

I think the reasoning is that you'd assume someone out for buying lots of votes has essentially arbitrary amounts of money to blow on it, so you're going to ask for something big.

As opposed to this shadowy person mass buying votes, however, 2 votes does not give you a noteworthy amount of power over having 1 vote, and you probably don't have an arbitrary amount to spend buying more and more votes, so you won't be too interested in the deal.

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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby Oregonaut » Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:06 pm UTC

In Oregon we mail in all of our ballots. So, honestly, if you gave me either the free education or the million dollars for my vote, I'd have to do next to no work at all for a lot of reward.

As long as I couldn't get in legal trouble, I'd come out *way* ahead.
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Re: Poll: Would you sell your right to vote for...?

Postby Iceman » Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:15 pm UTC

I barely value the vote at all.

I'd be in the $100 area to stop voting for life. I Think it's a silly system.


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