Tomorrow is Election Day, the famous American Holiday in which people are not given a day off of work but are still expected to wait in lengthy lines outside elementary schools during business hours in order to have their provisional ballots thrown away or watch their electronic voting machines helpfully select the Constitution Party candidate. Yes, voting is hard, and seldom worth it. Which is why civic-minded companies are giving people prizes for voting! A voter an receive a free cup of coffee from Starbucks, a free donut from Krispy Kreme, and free ice cream from Ben & Jerry's if they show up and tell them they voted. It's a great, fun way to boost turnout, and it's probably totally illegal! The laws do vary from state to state, but for elections to federal office, our Congress is clear:
Codifying the ban on voter bribery, the United States Congress has prohibited the conspiracy to encourage illegal voting and stated that anyone who "pays or offers to pay or accepts payment either for registration to vote or for voting shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both."
And that's not just cash for votes that's outlawed there! "Not only is a direct payment for a vote prohibited, but any other 'valuable thing, to or for the use of another.'" Like delicious ice cream, which is very valuable. (Note: we are not lawyers and honestly don't know what we're talking about.)