Anti-Trump Group Behind Vote Swapping Effort In Ohio
A national group opposed to Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump is trying to get supporters of minor and third party candidates in Ohio to trade their votes. Ohio Public Radio's Andy Chow reports.
Craig Clawson of Gahanna is facing a dilemma this election
Clawson: "I was a lifelong Democrat until this until this year's primaries."
If you were to ask Craig a year ago who he would vote for in November's presidential
election, he would've been likely to tell you the Democratic nominee.
Clawson: "I've donated money to their cause. I've volunteered for the Obama campaign
both the first and second one. I've sung their praises on social media."
But all that changed this year.
Clawson is a Bernie Sanders supporter and he says the leaked DNC emails show that
the party unfairly favored Hillary Clinton over Sanders in the primary.
Clawson: "I don't feel like she is the right choice for this election."
But as much as Clawson dislikes Clinton, he says the thought of Donald Trump as
president is much worse. He wants to vote for the Green Party's Jill Stein but
believes his vote in the all-important swing state of Ohio should do more in
So, he's trading his vote.
Clawson: "This is a way for me to sort of justify my vote for Clinton."
Clawson is swapping votes through a project called Trump Traders.
Here's how it works. A 3rd Party Voter in a swing state, who fears a Trump victory,
can trade their vote with a Clinton voter in a state that already seems to be
polling in her favor or one she's going to lose anyway. Clawson's trading with a
voter from South Carolina.
This is the pitch in an ad from TrumpTraders.org.
Ad: "You've decided to vote for a 3rd Party but we can all agree that the worst
outcome would be."
Trump: "I am your voice."
The super PAC Republicans for Clinton 2016 is the group behind Trump Traders. So
it's pretty clear that they're hoping the end result of this project will be a
Clinton victory. But, as Trump Traders' Chris Talbot explains, this can encourage
more votes for both Stein and Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson by doing it a
Talbot: "Somewhere around half a million to 600,000 voters in Ohio are telling
pollsters that they are going to support a third party candidate those votes for
Gary Johnson and Jill Stein in Ohio they basically amount to half a vote for Donald
That statement is exactly what fires up 3rd Party campaign staffers such
as Lindsay Workman. Workman is the national grassroots director for the Johnson
campaign, and for months she's been battling that narrative that a vote for Johnson
or Stein helps Trump.
Workman: "I think that that's deplorable -- to use a Hillary Clinton word - way of
operating politics and I just hope that people realize that and stand up and vote
for who they believe in because on November 9, regardless of the outcome of the
election you'll be able to say 'well I stood up for what I believed in and I voted
for the person that I believe should run this country."
As for vote swapping itself, Workman says the campaign is not a fan of the idea but
they're also not seeing groups like Trump Traders as some sort of competition.
Neither the Clinton campaign nor the Trump campaign wanted to comment on vote trading.
The Ohio Secretary of State's office says vote trading is legal as long as no one's
getting paid for their vote.
A similar effort was deemed legal in 2000 with a group called Nader Traders, where
Ralph Nader voters swapped with Al Gore supporters. Talbot with Trump Traders
assures that they're following every bit of the law. In fact, there are no measures
in place to even guarantee a person will vote the way they say they will, instead it
all relies on the honor system.