According to Political Insider, Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel sent out a press release warning Georgia businesses to not give out freebies (i.e. Starbucks giving free coffee) to Georgia voters today as it is against the law. She cites the following from Georgia Code (code section cited in full):
§ 21-2-570. Giving or receiving, offering to give or receive, or participating in the giving or receiving of money or gifts for registering as a voter, voting, or voting for a particular candidate
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.
So, Karen Handel, who never went to college or law school, interprets this to mean that a business cannot offer a free cup of coffee to a voter on election day? Ridiculous.
The point of this law is to prohibit candidates or groups to pay people to vote. That is not the intention of Starbucks. Their intention is to get you in the store to buy more stuff.
Does this mean that I committed a felony when I gave the new voter a ride to the polls this morning? It was a gift, was it not? And I did it because I wanted him to vote, right?
What about the “I’m a Georgia Voter” sticker I got this morning? They aren’t giving those out to people who are not voting. Is the Secretary of State violating the law as well?
If there wasn’t a doubt before, Karen Handel is an idiot. It’s a good thing for her she’s not on the ballot today.
If there are any businesses reading this today – keep on doing what you were planning on doing. If this fool tries to have you prosecuted, I’m sure there are pleny of lawyers out there who would love to represent you pro bono.