No You May Not Give Free Tacos to Voters
California Tortilla is offering free tacos to people who vote today, but it turns out the chain's generous, pro-democracy offer is just barely legal. It's a violation of federal election law to offer any kind of payment in exchange for voting or registering to vote, The Foundry's Conn Carroll notes. Anything of monetary value counts: cash, booze, lottery tickets, and, yes, tacos.
In October, a Young Democrats group in Arlington, Virginia, was blasted by their youthful GOP counterparts for promising a free drink to people who wore an "I Voted" sticker to show they'd voted early. The Young Dems said they didn't know they were breaking the law, and besides, the group's president said, "zero people came by" to claim their liquid reward. Still, the offer broke the law, even if turnout failed to meet the group's expectations.
California Tortilla is apparently saved by a provision in their offer that allows anyone who yells "I love election day!" to get a free tasty treat. The feds can't shut down the fun as long as the chain gives tacos to all, whether they've fulfilled their obligations as citizens or not.