Merchant Elections

This is probably as important as picking up a cigarette butt to keep the earth green, but it’s a note about creative merchandising.

Selling one’s vote is prohibited by federal law and also by most states.

So in order to penalize a 19-year-old student who, in May, posted his vote for sale on eBay for a bid of 10 dollars, state authorities in the northern state of Minnesota resorted to a law passed back in 1893, and actively enforced during the Prohibition Era years later, to punish people who tried to sell their votes against alcohol.

“When we see these listings we definitely take them down,” said England.

The eBay site records about seven million new articles for sale each day and on average posts about 112 million items for sale at any given moment. Given that volume of activity, patrolling for illegal posts presents a challenge.

“It’s possible that someone would put a listing up, it’s possible to be up for a couple of hours before we catch it. It’s possible that for a brief period of time something might actually be visible on the site,” she said.

“We are very clear, if you engage in illegal activity on our site, we absolutely will share information with law enforcement. We provide testimony in court.”

The Minnesota man was charged with corruption and solicitation, criminal charges that could have cost him up to five years in jail and a 10,000-dollar fine. But he was sentenced at the end of July to just 50 hours of community service.

More recently, a Maryland resident posted his vote for a starting bid of 3.99. [story here]

Next thing you know because bacteria lives longer in a petri dish of reversatrol somebody will be selling life extension pills.