“Saxbys plans to give away free lattes for voting. That’s a nice idea — but also illegal.”

Billy Penn:

While the locally owned coffee chain’s altruism is admirable, it’s also illegal under federal law.

“In elections in which federal candidates are on the ballot, no one can offer any kind of benefit or reward for voting,” UC Irvine law and political science professor Rick Hasen told Politico in 2010. “The simple way to deal with this is to open up the event to all comers — voters and nonvoters alike.”

Hasen confirmed to Billy Penn by email that Saxbys offer does run afoul of federal law: “Tell them free lattes for all!”

A spokesperson for Saxbys said they were looking into our question.

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