N.C. State Student Tries To Sell Vote On EBay

This story was written by Ashley Bennett, Technician
After placing her vote for the democratic party for sale on eBay, Sara Yasin, senior in textiles and apparel management, received a mandate from the North Carolina State Board of Elections instructing her to remove it.

According to Yasin, a former Student Centers President and a former Student Senator, the idea originally began as a joke.

"[A friend and I] were just talking about how the Democratic race has gotten pretty ridiculous," Yasin said. "I mean it's good healthy competition, but I just feel like it has become a bidding war."

The conversation sparked Yasin to put her vote for sale on eBbay, and while she said she only laughed about it at first, the vote was up for anyone to buy on April 4.

Ben Mazur, senior in religious studies, said he remembers the moment Yasin put the vote online.

"She called me before she set it all up and said, 'Check your e-mail in about half an hour. I'm about to do something really funny,'" Mazur said.

Shortly after her call, Mazur said he received an invitation to Yasin's Facebook group entitled, "Selling My Vote in the Democratic Primary."

"My immediate reaction was that has got to be illegal," Mazur said. "But it was such a funny concept that I wanted it to happen."

Yasin also said she thought her action may have been illegal, but she decided to go through with it. She said she decided she did not want to keep the money from the sold vote.

"I decided that the most important thing to me on this campus is SATELLITE, a camp for students who come from rural areas in North Carolina who historically don't get to go to college in that area," Yasin said.

Yasin decided she would give the profit from her online sale to the charity because "it would do more for North Carolina than the primary race could."

She started the bids at 15 cents for her vote, she said, and had planned to continue the bidding until April 11.

However, Yasin receied an eBbay message yesterday from an NCSBOE member stating that she must take her item down from E-bay because it was a violation of North Carolina General Statute 163-275 (2) and a Class I felony.

Statute 163-275 (2) states that for any person to give or promise or request or accept at any time, before or after any such primary or election, any money, property or other thing of value whatsoever in return for the vote of any elector shall be guilty of a Class I felony.

Upon receiving her message to end the bid, Yasin said the first thing she did was call to make sure it wasn't a joke. After calling, Yasin confirmed that the NCSBOE was indeed the organization that had contacted her.

"They were actually really nice about it and just told me to end the bidding," she said. "I didn't put up a fight or anything -- I just ended it."

Mazur said that while he knew it was illegal to bribe someone for a vote, he had never heard of anyone selling their vote for the primary election.

"It doesn't surprise me that it was shut down, though," he said.

One of the online bidders for Yasin's vote, Brian Mathis, junior in business management, said he had a feeling when he bid that it might be illegal, but he wasn't thinking about the ramifications of his action.

"I wasn't serious about bidding for her," Mathis said. "My main thing was to contribute to charity."

Yasin said now that she cannot sell her vote online, she does not know who she will vote for.

"I feel kind of dumb because I usually consider myself pretty informed and I was keeping up with the race," she said, "but I just couldn't make a decision."

She said that although he will not win the North Carolina Primary Election, Mike Gravel will receive her vote beore Clinton or Obama.

"I'm sick of people making me feel like, because I'm a woman, I should vote for Hillary, and because I'm a minority, I should be voting for Obama," Yasin said.
© 2008 Technician via U-WIRE
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