Vote-auction.com legal wrangles continue

Lawsuits stack up but vote buying goes on regardless

The controversial site vote-auction.com is still buying and selling votes for the US presidential election despite a backlog of lawsuits against it.

At least four states have started legal proceedings against the site but it remains unclear whether the law is actually being broken. Vote prices vary from state to state, with Illinois coming in at a bargain $15 each.

Incidentally, it was an Illinois judge who last month ordered the original site, voteauction.com (note no hyphen), shut down pending legal action. The site owners did shut it down and then opened up the self-same site with a hyphen and asked for "donations" for votes rather than arranging a direct sale. Two vote-swapping sites have also been shut down in California. But another three are known to be still active at the moment.

With the elections right upon us, it seems as though there's nothing that can be done. But then, on the flip side, no one really has any idea what votes have been sold, how many of them or whether the system is actually practical - some crazy percentage of ballot papers are discarded every election because people can't quite master the idea of putting one cross in a one box.

A brief ditty on the elections: a recent soundbite by Bush went something like: "If he's [Gore] so clever and invented the Internet, why does every Web address start with double-u?" (George W Bush - geddit?)This got big laughs and provoked general hilarity, but, sadly, makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. But then what do you expect? ®

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