Want to Swap Votes?
As we continue watching election results come in, there has been reports of “vote trading” in many states becoming increasingly popular, which could very much affect this election. To explain what this phenomena is, CNBC reports: “Here's how it works: A Gary Johnson supporter in a swing state like Ohio can promise to vote for Hillary Clinton. In exchange, a Clinton supporter in a strong blue state like California would promise to vote for Johnson. Voila! Both get to make sure their votes count while staying true to their principles.” This has been somewhat common among past elections, but with the usage of online marketplaces such as TrumpTraders.org, it is becoming increasingly popular. On their website, Trump Traders boasts 45,000+ votes traded and 5,000 in Florida alone, which is a swing state. The idea of vote trading began in 2000 with the race between George Bush and Al Gore, with the race in Florida being decided by only 537 votes. Races in battleground states are often decided by so few votes, which makes vote trading increasingly shifting, where votes like these could decide the entire presidential election. This shift can be attributed to a growing popularity of third party candidates, especially with the dislike of both major party candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The issue with voting third party that many people feel is that your vote is thrown away, but with states in which third party candidates have more credibility, it could make all the difference. While this may be a moral gray area, it is legal. CNBC says, “Vote trading is not without controversy either. Some critics have suggested it's illegal. But in 2007, a court case found it's protected by the First Amendment." As long as people don't trade favors or money," Kumar said. "What you do in the polling booth is your freedom. Anyone trying to solicit votes for money is illegal." Vote trading platforms like his simply connect voters and facilitate the conversation, he said. Meddlers are a different story, though, as Kumar says "tons of Trump voters" are trying to cause disruption within the app.”
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