The attorney serving as general counsel for the Sharron Angle campaign, Cleta Mitchell, has alleged that Nevada Democrats are trying to “manipulate the election in the hopes of skewing the results” by way of offering free food and other incentives at voter turnout events.
The lede in a Las Vegas Review-Journal last week reported, “Making a pitch for young voters, U.S. Sen. Harry Reid on Tuesday served up free pizza to university students” at a get-out-the-vote rally at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. The rally was held just adjacent to Lied Library, where early voting was taking place. After the rally, Reid encouraged students to go vote and then walked over to cast his own vote with many students following along.
Mitchell has said that in addition to the offers of free food near polling places, numerous calls have come into the Angle campaign’s election hotline claiming that some teachers union representatives in Las Vegas have been offering Starbucks gift cards to people as an enticement to vote for Harry Reid.
Mitchell is appalled that the Nevada Secretary of State has issued a statement saying it is permissible to offer food for voter participation as long as the incentive is not expressly offered in return for a particular vote.
Before we were even able to document the reported infractions to report to the authorities, the Democrat Secretary of State slammed the door shut on preventing the behavior and issued a public statement permitting these ACORN-style tactics. [...]
What Harry Reid is doing is clearly illegal. Nevada law (NRS 293.700) provides that, “A person who bribes, offers to bribe, or use and other corrupt means, directly or indirectly, to influence any elector in giving his or her vote or to deter the elector from giving it is guilty of a category D felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.”
Mitchell said in a statement yesterday that the tactics are ”a debasement of the process” and referred to past incidents of voter “enticement” by groups such as the two ACORN workers in Milwaukee who in 2008 were accused of offering pre-paid gasoline cards or restaurant gift cards to people in exchange for registration.
She also cited John Fund’s book, Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens our Democracy, which cited reports in 2004 from the Sioux Falls, South Dakokta Argus-Leader that residents reported “people on the streets were saying you go vote, they would give you gas money, $10, maybe a pack of cigarettes…”
Mitchell has called for the deployment of election law attorneys and poll watchers to Nevada polling locations to combat questionable practices and “criminal acts” during the last week of early voting and through November 2.
The Secretary of State’s office yesterday issued a statement in response to Mitchell’s allegations of vote buying and a subsequent mailer sent out remarking on the same. The statement says Mitchell “fails to cite any evidence of ‘vote buying’ in the State of Nevada other than reports to their election hotline about representatives of unions.”
The statement continues, “The Secretary of State encourages anyone with information regarding vote buying to contact the Election Integrity Task Force” and adds that the applicable statutes “carry criminal penalties” but that “complaints should contain specific information, not conjecture and rumor.” Specifically, the Secretary of State said they seek “supporting evidence, such as witness statements, contact information, and specific descriptions of violative conduct.”
In response to the Secretary of State’s remarks, Mitchell issued the following statement:
“It is fine for the Secretary of State to now say to ‘bring them evidence’ of vote buying related to free food…what the Secretary of State should have done last week is to issue a cautionary note to all parties and candidates that offering free food related to the election is dangerously close to the legal line and everyone should proceed with caution. That isn’t what they did and that is why we are upset: namely, for the Secretary of State’s failure to reinforce not only the letter but also the spirit of the Nevada law prohibiting exchanging anything of value for a vote.”