Voteauction.com was a satirical website that during the 2000 U.S. presidential election offered U.S. citizens an anonymous and quick way to sell their vote to the highest bidder. 13 U.S. states issued temporary restraining orders and injunctions, for alleged illegal vote trading and consumer fraud. Over 2,500 news media outlets reported on the project including a 27-minute CNN "Burden of Proof" special.
Voteauction was the brainchild of James Baumgartner, at the time a student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the website was later sold for an undisclosed sum to Ubermorgen.com in Austria. The artist duo consisting of lizvlx (AT) and Hans Bernhard (CH/USA) ran it from August 1 – November 7, 2000, posing as "Eastern European business people". CNN.com called them "Maverick Austrian Businessmen". Legal precautions against extradition and rendition were taken by consulting specialists in different countries and by physically moving on a daily basis. The auctioning web-site was re-designed in September and underwent minor changes over the course of the project. The web-site initial domain voteauction.com (hosted by Domainbank) and the second domain vote-auction.com were disabled by American court orders and without legally served court order by CORENIC in Geneva, leading to a series of press-releases to communicate the new location, hence generating more publicity for the web-site. The server-infrastructure was attacked several times and the site had to move to a more secure location.
UBERMORGEN.COM shows all the original documents (approximately 700 kg of complaints, court decisions, injunctions) generated by the proceedings in exhibitions worldwide, and refers to them as ‹foriginals› (a combination of ‹forged› and ‹original›). The permanent amalgamation of fact and fiction realized in this way points toward an extremely expanded concept of one’s working materials, which for Ubermorgen.com also include (international) rights, democracy and global communication (input-feedback-loops). Vote-Auction was exhibited at the Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz (Austria) 2005, Eyebeam New York, 2010, expo.02 Switzerland, 2002.
Related projects and Election Trilogy
As an affirmative approach towards the illegal delivery of court orders from U.S. courts to Europe, UBERMORGEN.COM released the "Injunction generator", an engine which renders customized court orders on demand.
In 2004 UBERMORGEN.COM released the 2nd part of the "Election Trilogy" named *THE*AGENCY for manual election recount. In 2007 WAHLGELD.COM, a vote-buying and selling platform for the Swiss parliamentary elections was launched. The actual selling and buying of votes was covered by leaking information about the authors (as artists), therefore the election commission, the media and the voters were certain about the non-commercial motivation. Approximately 700 electoral votes were bought for an average of CHF 75.-.
Team, collaborators, supporters, defendants, plaintiffs
- Hans Bernhard aka Dr. Andreas Bichlbauer
- lizvlx aka Sandra Baierl aka Elisabeth Haas
- James Baumgartner
- Tilmann Singer
- Silver Server
- Oskar Obereder
- Christoph Johannes Mutter
- Bootlab Berlin
- Domenico Quaranta
- Domain Bank Inc.
- Luzius Bernhard
- Stephanie Schliepack
- State of Missouri
References and notes
-  New York Times, But the Authorities Are Not Amused and Talk of Legal Action: Web Site Offers an Auction for Votes, By Brian Knowlton Published: October 18, 2000
-  Lawsuit and injunctions BOARD OF ELECTION COMMISSIONERS OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, LANGDON D. NEAL, RICHARD S. COWEN and THERESA M. PETRONE, vs. HANS BERNHARD, LUZIUS A. BERNHARD, OSKAR OBEREDER, CHRISTOPH JOHANNES MUTTER, JAMES BAUMGARTNER and DOMAIN BANK, INC.
-  Spiegel Magazine: Behörden stoppen Stimmenverkauf im Web, 24.08.2000
-  Spiegel Magazine: Richter verbietet virtuellen Stimmenhandel, 19.10.2000
-  Vote-Auction], exhibition "Eyebeam" New York
-  Transcript: CNN, Burden of Proof. Bidding for Ballots: Democracy on the Block. Aired October 24, 2000 - 12:30 p.m. ET
-  Video: CNN Burden of Proof. Bidding for Ballots: Democracy on the Block. Aired October 24, 2000 - 12:30 p.m. ET
-  Wired.com, Close Vote? You Can Bid on It, Mark K. Anderson, 08.17.00
- "CNN.com - Vote-selling Web site to be revived, possibly offshore - August 25, 2000". Archived from the original on October 23, 2012. Retrieved April 13, 2011. Vote-selling Web site to be revived, possibly offshore, CNN.com, August 25, 2000
-  Excerpts from Ubermorgen.com communication with lawyers, ACLU, EFF
-  Final web-site version Nov 7, 2000
-  Initial web-site version by James Baumgartner with minor changes by Ubermorgen.com
-  Voteauction.net: Protected Political Speech or Treason? by Rebecca Murray, Associate Managing Editor for Suffolk University Law School Journal of High Technology Law, Juris Doctor, May 2005
-  Stephanie Schliepack, Lawyer, representing UBERMORGEN.COM, letter to CORE INTERNET COUNCIL OF REGISTRARS demanding the immediate turning-on of vote-acution.com domain.
-  Press-Releases 02.11.2000, 06.11.2000, 07.11.2000, 22.10.2000 and 31.10.2000
-  UBERMORGEN, MEDIA HACKING VS CONCEPTUAL ART, Alessandro Ludovico (Ed.), Curriculum Vitae, page 196-203, Exhibitions 142-166
-  Wired News, Selling Votes or Peddling Lies? Mark K. Anderson, 10.30.00
-  Medienkunstnetz, Category Communication project, Keywords Tactical Media, Process. Source: Inke Arns, «Soziale Technologien,» in: Die Offene Stadt - Anwendungsmodelle. Jahresprogramm der Kokerei Zollverein, Essen, 2003
-  Injunction Generator, 2001, UBERMORGEN.COM
-  *THE*AGENCY* Web-site
-  SELLtheVOTE.COM DOES IT THE AMERICAN WAY - THE DEMOCRATIC WAY, November 02, 2004
-  NZZ.ch: Wirbel um Stimmenhandel bei den Wahlen Internetseite ruft zum illegalen Verkauf von Stimmen auf, 25. September 2007, 16:10, NZZ Online
-  Blick.ch, Oesis wollen unsere Stimmen kaufen, Simon Hehli | Aktualisiert um 07:38 | 26.09.2007
-  Media Art Net, Vote-Auction project description
-  COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY JUDGMENT, INJUNCTION AND OTHER RELIEF, IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY COUNTY DEPARTMENT, COUNTY DIVISION, naming all the defendants and leading to a preliminary injunction order 
-  Wired.com: "Lawyers Are Cheap at Vote Auction", Mark K. Anderson, 11.09.00
-  Slashdot article and comments on "Voteauction.com", Posted by michael on Thursday August 17, @10:39AM
-  Credits on the official Vote-Auction.net web-site
-  Domenico Quaranta (ed), UBERMORGEN.COM, FPEditions, Brescia 2009 (ISBN 978-8890330858)
-  Domain Bank Inc web-site
-  Voluntary Dismissal by the State of Missouri, Jeremaya W. (Jay) Nixon, State Attorney