YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – A new website is letting people trade their votes from state to state. Participants sign up online through various websites and mobile apps, pledging to vote for the other person’s candidate in their respective state.
It’s essentially a virtual hand-shake with voters between different states. Here’s how it works: Sally lives in Ohio. She doesn’t want to vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, but voting for a third-party candidate, such as Gary Johnson, could help either Trump or Clinton. So, she finds a Democrat in California, where Clinton is likely to win, and asks them to vote for Johnson, while in exchange she votes for Clinton.
The swap allows Johnson to get votes where it won’t affect the outcome in California, and Trump doesn’t get a vote where it does matter – in Ohio.
One of these websites is called “Trump Traders” and it targets third-party supporters. The website launched last week and already has 3,000 users.
“If you are in Ohio and you don’t like Trump, and you also don’t like Clinton, we’ve got people who want to talk to you that feel the same way,” said John Stubbs, co-founder of Trump Trader.
With Ohio being a battleground state, the websites have some people on edge. Political analyst Tom Sutton said the process is legal as long as money is not involved.
“It sounds unsavory because anything that sounds like vote trading sounds like somebody is manipulating the system,” Sutton said. “The fact of the matter is if it’s a one on one transaction involving just two people with each other, that in itself is an expression of free speech, not an illegal act.”
Although the websites are new and they are propelling swaps, trading votes actually isn’t a new concept. It was first done in 2000 during the Bush-Gore election when some Ralph Nader supporters in swing states traded their votes.