Odds and Ends 8/29

Sunday, August 29, 2004

ELYRIA, Ohio -- James Pengov thought selling his vote would help get him out of debt. Instead it landed him in trouble with the law.

It took authorities 12 hours to hear about and stop Pengov's eBay offer of a "Presidential Vote for Sale," with a starting bid of $50.

The 36-year-old said he was hoping to land enough money from selling his vote to pay medical bills.

"Up for auction is MY VOTE!," said Pengov's Aug. 19 posting on the online marketplace.

"Simply tell me who to vote for, after paying the auction, and it will be so. If you care, buy my vote and you will have twice the power in the upcoming election!!!!"

Pengov said he didn't know that selling a vote was illegal.

The fraud unit of the California secretary of state's office, which has been alerted to votes for sale on eBay in previous elections, came across the posting and notified Ohio authorities.

Hani Durzy, eBay spokesman, said the online auction service screens the 29 million listings for violations of its policies, but because 3.5 million are added daily, it relies on outside help to catch inappropriate listings.

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