Editorial: Selling Vote On EBay Deserves Punishment

This story was written by Editorial Board, Iowa State Daily

A University of Minnesota student found himself with more than summer classes to worry about when he incurred a felony bribery, treating and solicitation charge last week.

His crime? Putting his vote in November's presidential election up for sale on eBay.

Max Sanders, 19, explained on his eBay post over a month ago: "The rules are simple. The highest bidder will tell me who to cast my vote for in the election. I will vote for any candidate of any party, as long as they are on the ballot."

However, Sanders' minimum bid, $10, was never met.

An 1893 Minnesota law makes offering to buy or sell a vote illegal. It's also a crime on the federal level, but it's unlikely that the Department of Justice would pursue such a small incident, a University of Minnesota election law professor told the university student newspaper.

Sanders could face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for his actions, but the Hennepin County deputy attorney says that won't happen, hinting that Sanders could see some community service hours.

Call us fun haters, but it's good to see the Hennepin County Attorney's Office taking this seriously. It would be naive to think that votes don't get "bought" all the time - one only needs to take a short glance at the lobbying industry - but the outright sale of someone's vote is an affront to democracy.