Blog Lecture No. 75: Election Offenses (Part II: Vote Buying)

Let’s tackle one of the most obvious election offense: Vote Buying.

How does our election law define vote buying and vote selling?

1. Any person who gives, offers or promises money or anything of value, gives or promises any office or employment, franchise or grant, public or private, or makes or offers to make an expenditure, directly or indirectly, or cause an expenditure to be made to any person, association, corporation, entity, or community in order to induce anyone or the public in general to vote for or against any candidate or withhold his vote in the election, or to vote for or against any aspirant for the nomination or choice of a candidate in a convention or similar selection process of a political party.

2. Any person, association, corporation, group or community who solicits or receives, directly or indirectly, any expenditure or promise of any office or employment, public or private, for any of the foregoing considerations.

Who are liable?

Those who buy votes and those who sell them.

And it is not limited to persons. It also covers associations, groups, corporations or communities who does the same act.

What are the elements of the offense?

You remember in any contract there are the three elements. Here, it’s similar:

1. Subject — the actors, the buyer and the seller (as stated above)

2. Object — the vote (for or against a particular candidate or party list; or in the case of “negative vote buying/selling” not to vote at all)

3. Consideration — the “payment” to vote (or not to vote as the case maybe)

This is not limited to actual payment. Even a promise of payment is sufficient.

Payment is likewise not limited to money. It includes anything of value, including employment, franchises, grants or even to shoulder an expenditure for the vote seller.

What are the consequences of this offense?

Aside from being an election offense that carries criminal sanctions, it can be used to disqualify the candidate…

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