Voteauction.com back in business

Decides 'not to wait' for US law

An American votes-for-sale Web site is back online just days after an Illinois judge ordered it to shut down.

On Wednesday Judge Michael Murphy of the Cook County Circuit Court signed a restraining order for the Voteauction.com site, and any similar site affiliated with the same owners, to temporarily stop operations.

However, this weekend the feisty dotcommers - the venture has a Dutch parent company - decided to take the law into their own hands. The site has been re-born as vote-auction.com (note the hyphen), and instead of selling votes it is asking for "donations" for them.

According to a statement on the site today: "During the past week, diverse rumours and hear-say has been passed concerning the website which explores the high-risk consumer markets of the American election industry...But whilst the American authorities took their time and tax payers' money to legally pursue almost everybody related to the existence of the website, the owners of the site worked on a re-design and strategy paper for version 2.0 of the project."

It also claims: "Lots of users of Vote-auction.com have described their support in various emails. This is another reason why we decided not to wait to get back online until local U.S. legal authorities understand that Vote-auction.com works for and NOT against democracy."

It promises to protect any data sent in by users, but warns that the court has ordered: "all data of users registered with the site to be disclosed to the authorities".

This, it states, would let prosecutors in Chicago individually sue users of vote-auction.com for "voter fraud".

Apparently any US citizen found guilty of selling or buying a vote can get thrown into jail for between one and three years.

The minimum bid on the site is $100, with $50 minimum increases. The price difference between States is vast, with California commanding the greatest value per vote of $19.61, with $2,546 votes registered for sale. In total the site claims to have more than 21,000 votes at its disposal. ®

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