Wednesday, August 11, 2004

this is absolutely hilarious. it's like the reverse lysistrata project...do something good for the country, and you get laid. i love it, and i totally endorse it.

Would good sex make Bush voters abandon him?

By Kristen Convery / Aug. 5, 2004

There's no polite way to tell this: A Pittsburgh-based group called Fuck the Vote claims it's offering sex to would-be Bush voters in return for their signed pledges to vote against the president in November.

Is it a hoax, in the grand tradition of 1993's bogus Arm the Homeless campaign? If not, people on both sides of the vote-for-sex swap could be breaking election laws.

The group's founder, Nathan Martin, said last week he intends to kick off his bus tour of the "swinger state" of Ohio in style, with a big, blue van with a pull-out bed and a "Fuck the Vote boat" that will be used for day trips.

At political events by day and bars by night, Martin said, the group will be distributing condoms and pledge forms: "I, the undersigned, pledge my vote for anyone but George W. Bush on November 2, 2004 in return for getting laid or at least getting some play."

Martin acknowledged the obvious: that horny young people are the most obvious targets of his effort. He said he plans to visit plenty of college towns.

"Columbus," he said, "is great for that."

The group's website looks more like a fetish page than anything else, complete with pictures of "models"—who, as the site goes to great lengths to make clear, "ARE NOT PROSTITUTES."

If Martin's group is a joke, he should at least make up better numbers: Last week, the group's site claimed only three sex-for-vote swaps in Florida and one in New Mexico.

Martin said he's unconcerned that FTV's claim—that it will actually convert hardcore GOP voters, if only for one election—is dubious.

"You don't make sure of anything," he said, musing on the effectiveness of the pledge forms. "If you make sure of anything, it would be illegal."

Actually, Ohio elections officials will take a dim view of his plan anyway.

Staffers for Republican Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell—who, theoretically, are prime targets for FTV—will be monitoring the group if it ventures across the border.

It's a fourth-degree felony to offer or accept "anything of value" for votes, said Carlo LoParo, spokesman for the office. (It doesn't matter that FTV isn't telling people who to vote for. In the past, LoParo said, stores that have given discounts to shoppers with "I voted today" stickers have been ordered to stop.)

So now for the big question: Does sex fall under the state's definition of "anything of value"?

"I guess it would depend on the individual," LoParo said. But he offered a warning:

"If someone offers or accepts, they'll really be screwed."

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