The logical result
Subscribe to mailing listContact RTMarkHome
Current projectsBack to Past projectsPromotional materialsBeyond us 
Dow and Verio respond to attack
The Yes Men impersonate the WTO
Back to
Les votes aux enchères
Nov. 5 press release (open)
Articles about
Diagram explaining (makes new window)
Voteauction: (makes new window)
The etoy Fund
The Presidential Exploratory Committee
The World Trade Organization
The Archimedes Project
Project LOFT (Art Inspection)
Deconstructing Beck
Phone In Sick Day 2002
The Zapatista Floodnet
The Secret Writer's Society hack
Popotla vs. Titanic
The Barbie Liberation Organization
The SimCopter hack
The Threat of Millennium
Other past projects
Articles without project focus
Selected archive of recent press
A few ongoing projects

Learn more about MGOG Project MGOG: Find a name for the USA
Nov. 5 press release Past projects / / Nov. 5 release
November 5, 2000

VOTEAUCTION SATIRE ILLEGALLY SQUELCHED, WILL RE-OPEN IN HUNDREDS OF PLACES reveals its role, offers cash to the first person who can redirect the domain of a major candidate's website to

    Voteauction: pr@[]
    Corenic (responsible for deleting

       Werner Staub <>
    Bill Jones: (916) 653-7244
    Andy Mueller-Maguhn:
    Domain Bank:
    Network Solutions:

Voteauction, the satirical website which bills itself as "the only election platform channelling 'soft money' directly to the democracy consumer," has fallen victim to a heavy-handed and sometimes illegal campaign against free speech by two corporations and several public officials.

On November 1, Network Solutions (the private for-profit corporation in charge of all .com, .net, and .org domains) shut down without warning or explanation, shortly after public attacks by the California Secretary of State, and after the Chicago Board of Elections filed an election fraud lawsuit against the domain. Neither the owners nor the service providers received any notification or warning of the shutdown, and Network Solutions has refused to comment on the issue. (See for an earlier example of illegal and still unexplained acts by the company.)

California Secretary of State Bill Jones seems to have set the stage for this blatant disregard of Constitutional free speech protections by stating last week on CNN that corporate financing of elections is one subject that cannot be discussed: "whether this is a parody... makes absolutely no difference whatsoever in California... because you are talking about the corruption of the voting process." (CNN)

RTMark sponsored in June (project VOTE, listed at precisely because the satirical site helps highlight the ways corporations already effectively purchase votes. As law professor Jamin Raskin said about Voteauction, "...we have now evolved a system in which it's OK for money to buy elections, and yet we somehow cling to the fantasy that there's something deeply immoral about the purchase of an individual vote." (Wired News)

RTMark and many others believe that if U.S. authorities such as Bill Jones wish to purge the election process of corruption, they should start by preventing corporations from spending unlimited sums on electing particular candidates, not by stopping a satire that highlights the problem. As one commentator wrote, "few would disagree that the problem with money in politics today is the hundreds of millions of dollars at the top, not a few dollars at the bottom. Which is why the short-lived vote sale should be seen less as a serious act of sabotage and more as guerrilla theater." (Slate)

Network Solutions' illegal deletion of the domain is just the latest blow in a series of actions that have closed the satirical website three times since it opened in August.

1: In August, founder James Baumgartner, a graduate student, was told by New York State Board of Elections officials that they would press charges against him; they even implied that he could be guilty of treason, which is punishable by execution. Baumgartner, faced with what amounted to an official state-sponsored death threat, had little choice but to close the site on August 18, at which point RTMark helped transfer the domain to its current Austrian owner, Hans Bernhard, who immediately re-opened with new features.

2. On October 21, Domain Bank, the U.S. company with which had been registered, illegally froze the domain. Bernhard responded by registering (with an added hyphen) with a company located outside U.S. jurisdiction.

3: On November 1, to circumvent this approach, Network Solutions, without warning and in clear violation of international law, removed from its root servers (the computers that provide domain information to all others). It is unknown who requested this action, and under what authority Network Solutions feels justified in performing it. Andy Mueller-Maguhn, a newly-elected director of ICANN, the non-profit corporation responsible for all internet domains, agreed this was an illegal move and said "I guess we will have to do something about this."

In response to Network Solution's attack, the Voteauction team has begun gathering Vote-auction and Voteauction domains around the world and is calling on other domain owners to point their domains or sub-domains to, the Voteauction IP (IP addresses are not dependent on domain name registrars or on Internic). If you have a domain or sub-domain that you can point to, please do so and forward the information to pr@[] to be added to a list of supporters.

In addition, RTMark has secured a $500 investment, of which $300 will be offered to the first person who can redirect the domain of a major US political candidate (for federal or state office) to The remaining $200 will be offered to the first person to re-route the domain of a major media outlet covering the elections to the Voteauction IP.
RTMark's primary goal is to publicize corporate subversion of the democratic process. To this end it acts as a clearinghouse for anti-corporate projects.

Home | New projects | Past projects | Material | World

¤ 2000 ®TMark, Inc. No terms of use.