PSA: Don't Sell Your Vote on eBay Like This Person Is Doing

Illustration for article titled PSA: Don't Sell Your Vote on eBay Like This Person Is Doing

One Gizmodo staffer described the above eBay auction for the seller’s vote in the 2020 presidential election as “the ultimate American thing to do.” Which is true: Grifts, scams, and all manner of get-rich-quick schemes may be one of our country’s most hallowed past-times, but selling your vote is also another thing: a big, sloppy felony.


The text of this bizarre auction reads:

2020 vote— Citizen; non felon. NC vote

Voting is important to some not as important to me.

Once vote is bought I’ll support whoever; open to any political conversations

Wanted a 1,500,000 for vote but eBay only allows 25k

Why not sell a vote for the midterm elections, you might be asking, as those elections are happening today instead of two years from now? (Seriously, go vote.) How did this person arrive at such a high value for a single vote, when, based on overall campaign expenditures in 2016, each vote is worth around $3 on average? Could he not be bothered to get a fresh piece of paper? Is this person just fucking with us?

It’s entirely likely this is some sort of “joke,” perhaps in the same vein as Jacob Wohl’s boneheaded attempt to smear Robert Mueller—a ploy pre-set to backfire. Willful offers to vote a specific way, or withhold a vote, are punishable by a fine and/or up to two years in prison. You don’t have to actually sell your vote for it to be illegal—just putting it up for sale is enough. Excellent own, my man.

The auction remains up, as of publication. We’ve reached out to eBay and the seller for comment and will update if we hear back. Presently, there are no bids for this single vote, though it strains the imagination as to why.

Update: the auction has since been taken down by eBay, which told Gizmodo it pulled the listing for violating its “Encouraging Illegal Activity Policy.”

Senior reporter. Tech + labor /// Keybase: Securedrop: http://gmg7jl25ony5g7ws.onion/


This is no less than what happens every day. Money is a form of free speech in this country. People can and should buy and sell votes if they want to, just like they debate over them. Sorry, that’s what has been happening for decades. Just because we pretended that votes were sacred, doesn’t mean they were. Don’t like it? Change it.

But stop thinking that votes and the act of voting is in some way, going to fix all of our problems. Voting is what got us into this mess. It’s culture what needs action, not a swapping from some bribed elected officials to another set with a different color label.