Some bars and restaurants reward guests for exercising one of America’s most fundamental rights.
Early voting has begun in some states and to encourage people to participate, many operators create F&B deals specifically for guests wearing an “I Voted” sticker.
However, it’s important for operators to approach this kind of promotion with caution.
Giveaways and discounts that reward people for voting are illegal in the United States when federal candidates are on a ballot. In fact, it has been illegal to do so since 1948.
However, many bars and restaurants across the United States—big and small, national and local, chain and independent—have routinely flouted this law. Some come up with technical workarounds they hope are legal, others gamble that they won’t be busted.
Operators take a few different approaches to this type of promo.
For example, there are bars that offer discounts on designated shots or cocktails for people wearing “I Voted” stickers for the duration of early voting in their state. Some restaurants give away select food items to people wearing the sticker on Vote Early Day on October 24 or Election Day on November 3. Such rewards can either be dependent on a purchase or a straight giveaway.
For the curious, click here for a list of states and their early voting dates. And for those wondering how to obtain an “I Voted” sticker if they didn’t get one after voting early or voting by mail, we want to shine a light on the Voter Sticker Project.
The Voter Sticker Project, started by Greg Sarafan, will send anyone who asks for one the sticker. Sarafan has also set up a GoFundMe campaign with a modest goal. Follow this link to learn more and donate.
Just like it’s up to each individual to make their voice heard, it’s up to each operator to weigh the legal ramifications of rewarding voters. Anyone considering such a promotion needs to do their research, get to know local, state and federal voter laws, and make the most informed choice.
Oh, and one final note: Owners and managers, please help your employees vote. Encourage them to register to vote, share early voting dates, and adjust the schedule so every team member gets to vote. Thank you!
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article and on this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in this article and/or on this site without seeking legal or other professional advice.
I’ve been studying and writing about the hospitality industry since 2006. Like so many people, I started my journey in this business by working as a host, server and bartender. I was introduced to nightlife in Chicago, learning the ins and outs of nightclubs and after-hours hot spots.
After moving to Las Vegas nearly 20 years ago, I both co-owned a valet company and helped promote the club it serviced. That led to me taking on the role of editor for a Las Vegas hospitality industry publication.
A few short years later, I continued along my journey of hospitality industry reporting. I went from contributing to a major industry outlet to taking on the role of editor and content curator.