Buying votes has been part of America since it’s beginning. George Washington is said to have bought a quart and a half of rum for each man who voted for him during a Virginia election.
Though illegal in most places ‘electoral treating’ or paying favors in return for a promised vote still takes place. In 2010, a Tennessee commissioner was sentenced to 21 months for paying voters. A Kentucky school superintendent recently plead guilty to vote buying and faces up to five years in prison. The following video exposes how common vote buying is in some parts of Eastern Kentucky:
There are some who claim President Obama’s recent executive decision not to deport young illegal immigrants is a form of vote buying. It is a paradox though that giving direct money in exchange for votes is illegal while promising a group a particular benefit in exchange for a vote is acceptable.
“The Constitution permits candidates to buy votes wholesale, from many voters with a single promise of political action, but not retail, from a single voter with a promise of a private side-payment.” When is Buying Votes Wrong
Many have fought and died for the right of all citizens to vote; one vote per person and the ability to vote without coercion.
The Fox News story raises many questions. What is the value of one’s vote? Where does the money come from to buy the votes? What happens when cartels or specific groups pay for votes? How can the easily swayed and often poor voter be convinced not to sell his vote?