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In Survivor, when people are voted out, they are placed on the jury that decides who the final survivor is.

Frequently, people will decide who to vote out based on who is likely to win the jury vote. However, I've never seen people attempt to use their jury vote as a bargaining chip. This feels like an obvious strategy: "If you vote me out, I won't vote for you on the jury".

This doesn't appear to be against the rules listed on the leaked rulebook, but that doesn't mean it isn't a rule.

Have people used their jury vote as a bargaining chip, and/or is this against the rules?

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  • I haven't watched Survivor for several years but the votes I remember were anonymous.With that said, a) the stylized writing found on the ballots may be a clue to the origin b) the votes are only revealed until a majority has been reached so some ballots are never seen 3) I seem to remember a tie situation where the votes were polled directly and verbally from the voters.
    – user18935
    Oct 30, 2019 at 8:52
  • Promises made on the show are not binding. All the players know this, so a promise regarding a future vote isn't worth much.
    – Mattman944
    Oct 30, 2019 at 23:20
  • @Mattman944 Alliances are built upon future promises. Sure, they fall apart, but they definitely have value. Oct 31, 2019 at 2:19

1 Answer 1

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Yes, jury votes have been used as bargaining chips, most notably on-screen in Cook Islands.

Adam Gentry was in the minority alliance in part due to his former alliance member Jonathan Penner flipping on the alliance earlier. Adam approached Yul Kwon and offered Yul his jury vote if Jonathan Penner went home before Adam.

Yul followed up this interaction with a confessional:

“It’s a little bit weird for me because I feel like I’m kind of like the godfather or something, arranging a hit on somebody, and someone’s asking, like, to take out one person or another. The truth of the matter is, I don’t know if I’m entirely comfortable with it.”

Yul subsequently supported a vote to eliminate Jonathan Penner and received Adam's vote at final tribal.

This was actually the 2nd consecutive episode where Adam offered his jury vote to Yul in exchange for Jonathan Penner after failing to sway Yul in the previous episode.

A tweak to this ploy was also allegedly used in Survivor: Philippines according to Michael Skupin. In Survivor: Philippines, Michael Skupin claims to have been approached by a player who threatened to poison the jury against Skupin if that player was voted out.

I had someone in this game look me in this face and say, “You can vote me out tonight because you’re the swing vote, Skupin, but if you do, I’m going to go back to the jury and I’m going to poison, rob, pillage, steal, and I’m going to make sure that you don’t get a single vote. I will lie. I will tell them what you said about their children and their wife. I will make stuff up and this game is not over.” He said, “You can beat me, but you will never win this game.”

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