Are 'I Voted' Promotions Illegal?

November 3, 2014

With Election Day here again, it’s worth revisiting this column from the archives about the risks of “I Voted” promotions, in which businesses offer discounts or giveaways to customers wearing “I Voted” stickers. Some federal prosecutors have said that participating in these promotions can be a federal crime.

Q: I am a coffee shop owner with a question about election law, of all things. Last week on Election Day, we had a promotion giving away a free cookie to anyone wearing an “I voted” sticker. That evening, someone made an angry post on our Facebook page claiming that our promotion was illegal. My suspicion is that the person who made the post is just not enamored with our shop’s politics, which we tend to be quite open about. Besides, all we were trying to do with the promotion was celebrate people performing their civic duty. This can’t be illegal. Can it?

Please click here to continue reading this installment of "A Question of Ethics," reprinted from Roll Call.

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