Elections officials warn of "voting freebies" being a felony - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Elections officials warn of "voting freebies" being a felony

The Georgia Code states that giving away money or gifts in exchange for voting is a felony in Georgia. (Source: WALB News 10) The Georgia Code states that giving away money or gifts in exchange for voting is a felony in Georgia. (Source: WALB News 10)
The section of the Georgia Code is not clear on whether the law includes discounts on items. (Source: WALB News 10) The section of the Georgia Code is not clear on whether the law includes discounts on items. (Source: WALB News 10)
If there is a complaint of this happening, it would go to Georgia's State Election Board for review. (Source: WALB News 10) If there is a complaint of this happening, it would go to Georgia's State Election Board for review. (Source: WALB News 10)
Ashburn business owner Joshua Brown said Monday that he plans to give customers a discount at his store either way. (Source: WALB News 10) Ashburn business owner Joshua Brown said Monday that he plans to give customers a discount at his store either way. (Source: WALB News 10)
"Even though its good intentions...there are stipulations in the law that restrict doing that for voters," said Becky Perkins, Crisp County Elections Supervisor. (Source: WALB News 10) "Even though its good intentions...there are stipulations in the law that restrict doing that for voters," said Becky Perkins, Crisp County Elections Supervisor. (Source: WALB News 10)
ASHBURN, GA (WALB) -

Several organizations have encouraged customers to vote by offering to give away freebies or discounts for people who come in with "I'm a Georgia Voter" stickers.

However, according to the Georgia Code, giving away money or gifts in exchange for voting is a felony in Georgia.

Ashburn business owner Joshua Brown said Monday that he plans to give customers a discount at his store either way.

"It's just something to plant the seed of, this is important, let's go do it," said Brown, who owns The Clearance Warehouse.

The store will offer a 10% discount Tuesday, November 8, to customers who wear "I'm a Georgia Voter" stickers.

"I think there are times when we have to take that extra step to promote voting," Brown said.

Brown said he and his wife wanted to encourage others to cast their ballots because of what it cost others to give us the right to vote.

"A lot of people fought very hard and died to give us the luxury of voting," he said.

However, the Secretary of State's office said these actions are in a sort of "gray area" of the Georgia Code. 

It states that a person cannot give away gifts, or money, to people just because they voted, whether or not it's for a certain candidate.

The section of the Georgia Code is not clear on whether that includes discounts on items.

"Even though its good intentions by a corporation or a business owner to encourage people to vote, there are stipulations in the law that restrict doing that for voters," said Becky Perkins, Crisp County Elections Supervisor.

If there is a complaint of this happening, it would go to Georgia's State Election Board for review.

Election officials said it is up to the people to decide what qualifies as "gifts and money" this Election Day.

"If you want to interpret that a little more liberal, in the codebook, you're doing it kind of at your own risk," said Perkins. "It saves the integrity of the process if you don't come away with any kind of gift."

The following is the excerpt from the Georgia Code regarding this issue (Section 21-2-570):

"Any person who gives or receives, offers to give or receive, or participates in the giving or receiving of money or gifts for the purpose of registering as a voter, voting, or voting for a particular candidate in any primary or election shall be guilty of a felony."

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