Today is Election Day, but it’s not just politicians who are encouraging you to vote. Several businesses are trying to sweeten the deal on the same day many are performing their civic duty — but according to the U.S. Code, they can’t offer you anything in exchange for your vote.
The U.S. Code technically prohibits giving people anything to influence whether they vote or how, according to the Washington, D.C. blog DCist, and Section 597 of Title 18 threatens a fine or imprisonment for violations:
“Whoever makes or offers to make an expenditure to any person, either to vote or withhold his vote, or to vote for or against any candidate; and whoever solicits, accepts, or receives any such expenditure in consideration of his vote or the withholding of his vote—shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.”
But some establishments are proceeding with the freebies (if you can show you voted) nonetheless:
- Firehouse Subs tweeted Monday that it is handing out free medium-sized drinks to those sporting voting stickers.
- A Facebook event advertised by Nestlé Toll House Café offered a free chocolate chip cookie to “any patron wearing an ‘I VOTED’ sticker indicating he or she voted” at certain locations.
Noodles & Company is encouraging guests to vote in a different poll on its website: Those who cast a vote for their favorite mac and cheese get a coupon for the dish — buy one, get one free.
Ride-sharing apps like Lyft and Uber are offering different deals to get voters to the polls in the first place. Lyft is promising free rides to the polls if you text “Go Vote” to 73179. Uber is offering $20 off to first-time riders who use the code “VOTETODAY.”
For parents who need to look after kids while they stand in line to vote, YMCA is also offering free childcare at some locations so voters can cast their ballots with peace of mind, USA Today reported.
Some establishments are offering deals on Election Day without requiring any indication you voted.
- Krispy Kreme is offering a free doughnut in some locations — no sticker needed.
- Chuck E. Cheese is adding a pepperoni pizza to any pizza order if you can tell them you voted, though it doesn’t appear stickers are necessary.
- 7-Eleven is offering a free cup of coffee at some shops Tuesday, if customers download the store’s mobile app.
- California Tortilla diners will receive free chips and queso with their order if they say “Make queso great again,” “I’m with queso,” or “I vote for queso.”
- The pizza chain &Pizza is offering a free drink for each guest on Tuesday.
- Craft beer establishment World of Beer is offering drinkers’ first beer for just $1, whether or not you cast a vote.