"Vote swapping" sites target swing state voters

Posted at 10:27 PM, Oct 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-01 14:41:46-04

With less than two weeks to the election, “vote swapping” sites continue to gain ground with websites and apps, targeting voters in swing states like Ohio. 

Many of the sites target third party supporters who worry that voting for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson could tip the scales against Hillary Clinton. By swapping votes with a voter in a decidedly blue state, the swing state voter can still vote their conscience but technically vote for Clinton in their own state. 

Three thousand voters have already signed up for Trump Traders, which launched less than a week ago. 

The site’s tagline is “Friends don’t let friends protest vote in swing states.” 

“If you’re in Ohio and you don’t like Trump, and you also don’t like Clinton we’ve got people that want to talk to you that feel the same way,” explained to site’s co-founder, John Stubbs. 

Stubbs said they’re expecting more than 10,000 traders to sign up by election day. 

While vote swapping may sound unsavory, Baldwin Wallace political science professor Tom Sutton told News 5 it’s a practice that’s been tested in court. A California appeals court ruled in 2007 that vote pairing was constitutionally protected free speech. 

“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 speech, not an illegal act,” Sutton explained. 

Sutton said the practice only crosses the line if money is involved. 

“Every registered voter is entitled to cast one vote – how they decide who to vote for is up to the individual voter,” a spokesperson for the Ohio Secretary of States office responded to News 5’s request for comment.