Michigan Law vs. Election Day Freebies and Discounts
Uber, Lyft, John Ball Zoo and others are offering freebies and discounts to Michigan voters on Election Day, but those offers don't agree with Michigan election law.
Uber and Lyft are offering discounts to bring people to the polls.
John Ball Zoo says anyone who wears an "I Voted" sticker can get in for free today. The Field Museum in Chicago had an identical offer, but changed it to allow anyone with or without a sticker to get in for free today since the offer violates federal law.
Michigan laws say the same thing.
A person shall not, either before, on, or after an election, for the person's own benefit or on behalf of any other person, receive, agree, or contract for valuable consideration for 1 or more of the following:
(i) Voting or agreeing to vote, or inducing or attempting to induce another to vote, at an election.
(ii) Refraining or agreeing to refrain, or inducing or attempting to induce another to refrain, from voting at an election.
(iii) Doing anything prohibited by this act.
Is the law being enforced? Not that we are aware of, but maybe it should be.
The offers available now seem well-intentioned, but what if the freebies came from a clearly partisan source or had much greater value? It would quickly begin to seem less innocent and more like an attempt to buy votes.
Two years ago, John Ball Zoo had a millage proposal on the ballot. Would an offer of free admission to voters in 2016 have been acceptable?