N.C. State Student Tries To Sell Vote On EBay
April 9, 2008
NC State Student Tries to Sell Vote on EBay .
Senior Posts Vote for Sale
Yasin, a former Student Centers President and a former Student Senator, says her idea started 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 vote was up for anyone to buy on April 4. Yasin invited friends to join in the fun by creating a Facebook group called "Selling My Vote in the Democratic Primary," and started spreading the news throughout the student community . Ben Mazur, friend and fellow senior to Yasin, said he remembers the moment Yasin put the vote online.
"She called me before she set it all up and said, 'Check your email in about half an hour. I'm about to do something really funny,'" Mazur said . He was invited to join Yasin's Facebook group, and agreed that the concept was comedic, though (his) immediate reaction was that "(this) has got to be illegal ."
Yasin admitted she didn't know if her actions were legal or not, but thought to give it a try. She posted the bidding for the vote at 15 cents, and planned to keep the bidding going until April 11. However, when the bidding reached $11.50 on April 9 , Yasin received an eBbay message from a North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBOE) member stating that she must take her item down from eBay; 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 calling to make sure the message wasn't a joke, she confirmed that it was the NCSBOE that had contacted her. Though she had planned to give the money earned from the sale to SATELLITE, a camp for students from rural North Carolina interested in finance and technology careers, she took the vote down from eBay without a fight.
One online bidder for Yasin's vote, Brian Mathis, said he wasn't sure about any consequences for his action, but thought that it might be illegal. He noted that he "wasn't serious about bidding for her," but instead focused on "contribut(ing) to charity."