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Monday, Oct 31, 2011 - Last Blog on Earth | News

SD Republicans plan pay-to-vote straw poll

If you spend $20, you can vote three times for your favorite presidential candidate

By Dave Maass
- Credit: Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons
Question: What if the 24th Amendment were repealed and it cost money to vote? What if a wealthy person could buy 300 percent more voting power than the average citizen?

You can either reason out the natural consequences or just wait for the San Diego GOP's straw poll in two weeks.

Over the last few election cycles, the straw poll format has become a popular gauge of political support for Republican candidates. Just look at the famous Ames Straw Poll: It has never failed to pick a winner.... Oh wait. In 2007, Mitt Romney came in first, while John McCain was 10 out of 11. This year, Michele Bachmann won, so we're absolutely taking it seriously.

Credibility aside, Republicans keep doing these mock elections because, at the very least, it keeps the campaign volunteers busy and makes good press-release fodder. The Republican Party of San Diego County is having an "Official Straw Poll" of their own on Monday, Nov. 14—with a voter-fraud twist.

Local GOP Chairman Tony Krvaric's calling it a "Chicago-style" straw poll, taking a cue from the Illinois Republican Party's controversial attempt to raise funds through a pay-to-vote online poll. The "Chicago-style" part is a reference to allegations of Democrats paying cash for votes.

From the email sent out by Krvaric:
There is no cost to attend, but there is a cost to participate in the straw poll. Only one purchase per person. $10 for one ballot or you can opt for the "Solyndra Special" which is $20 for three ballots.
Oh snap. He said Solyndra! Hoo-wee, that's some gut-busting topical humor right there. That's funnier than Michele Bachmann pointing out that Herman Cain is campaigning on the (upside-down) number of the beast! That's funnier than Rick Perry teasing Mitt Romney over a poker metaphor. That's funnier than Rick Santorum... well, just saying, "Santorum."

You know, at first we thought the "Solyndra Special" was just a joke—but it turns out it's not. It's actually on the flyer:

It's not unusual for straw polls to be held at events where you have to pay for a ticket, but this would be the first time we've heard of voters being allowed to buy multiple votes.

Here's the math: If you're poor, you don't get a vote. If you've got a little money, you can buy one vote. If you've got twice as much money to spend as the regular voter, you get three votes.

Somehow, we think Mitt Romney's going to have the edge under those terms, since he's the only candidate to break six digits in fundraising in the 921XX zip codes, according to the FEC. Then again, Ron Paul surprised a lot of folks when he won the California straw poll in September.

That might be why Krvaric added this disclaimer:
Note: Straw polls are NOT scientific and are only meant to measure the intensity of the local grass roots support of candidates in any given area. Results will NOT constitute an endorsement of any kind. It's JUST FOR FUN folks!
Yeah, as if the candidate who buys a win ain't going to send out a press release about it.