Columbia restaurant ends Election Day promo that would have violated voter law

1 year 9 months 2 weeks ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 2:39:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
By: Sydney Kalich, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - A downtown Columbia restaurant discontinued an Election Day incentive after realizing it could be violating voter laws.

In a Facebook post on October 13, Sycamore announced they would be offering half priced sandwiches to anyone between the ages of 18 and 30 if they came into Sycamore wearing an "I voted" sticker. 

On Monday, Sycamore announced they no longer planned to do the promotion "due to the threat of legal action." 

Sycamore is one of the many restaurants both locally and nationally who do election day incentives for people who voted. But the issue of legality comes up when companies tie it to the act of voting. 

“The thing that makes it iffy is that it is tied to your voting. The law is supposed to provide an incentive to not buy people’s votes," said Brianna Lennon, a Columbia-based lawyer who is also running for Boone County Clerk. "If it were something more like it's Election Day and everything is available to everyone, regardless if you voted or showed your I voted sticker. That’s fine." 

Sycamore's co-owner, Sanford Speake, said that he was unaware that this was against the law and he wanted to reach out to a population of people that was both not a major part of his customer base but would also be socially positive. Ultimately the risk of a potential lawsuit made him end the promotion. 

"There was no explicit threat. Not one person came out and said if you do this I will sue you," Speake said. "The reality of it is it is a possibility so we don't want to take that chance."

Josh Kezer was the first person to leave a comment on the Facebook post, drawing attention to the illegality of the action, after questioning whether or not the deal could be offered to specific groups of people. 

"The more I looked into it, I decided to engage the post," said Kezer. "I am very grateful and thankful that the owners of Sycamore decided to respond very civilly and politely. They looked into and came to the same conclusion." 

In both Missouri and federal law, it is the act of tying it to voting, not the act of offering the deal to specific people, that is against the law. 

Kezer said the reason he looked into this was voter integrity and making sure people aren't influenced to vote based off of bribery.

"The last thing we should need to do is pay people a 50 percent bonus to go out and vote," Kezer said. "We are in a town of higher education so people should be encouraged to actually become educated. And vote based on the issues, not on a discount." 

More News

Grid
List
As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. You... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, August 12 2020 Aug 12, 2020 Wednesday, August 12, 2020 11:08:00 AM CDT August 12, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Water supply district number 1 is under a precautionary boil advisory because of low water pressure. There... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, August 12 2020 Aug 12, 2020 Wednesday, August 12, 2020 11:04:04 AM CDT August 12, 2020 in News
Editor's note: This op-ed is a collaboration between the mental health doctors in the United States from the National Network... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, August 12 2020 Aug 12, 2020 Wednesday, August 12, 2020 9:39:57 AM CDT August 12, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
COLUMBIA - After school programs have to make adjustments because of the Columbia school board’s vote to delay the start... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, August 12 2020 Aug 12, 2020 Wednesday, August 12, 2020 3:31:00 AM CDT August 12, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A Monday crash in Jefferson City damaged three parked vehicles and injured the driver. Curtis Murrell... More >>
16 hours ago Tuesday, August 11 2020 Aug 11, 2020 Tuesday, August 11, 2020 8:18:00 PM CDT August 11, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - KOMU 8 confirmed on the scene of the incident a man was shot on Tuesday at the Columbia... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, August 11 2020 Aug 11, 2020 Tuesday, August 11, 2020 7:22:00 PM CDT August 11, 2020 in News
MISSOURI — As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout Missouri, state and local officials confirm new case counts daily. This... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, August 11 2020 Aug 11, 2020 Tuesday, August 11, 2020 5:30:00 PM CDT August 11, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia mayor Brian Treece called on college students to make smart choices when returning to campus. "I... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, August 11 2020 Aug 11, 2020 Tuesday, August 11, 2020 4:58:00 PM CDT August 11, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Mizzou superfan Brian Garner has accumulated hundreds of coaches and players' signatures on his prosthetic leg. He hasn't... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, August 11 2020 Aug 11, 2020 Tuesday, August 11, 2020 4:45:00 PM CDT August 11, 2020 in News
WASHINGTON, D.C.: The news conference is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m., according to Trump. More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, August 11 2020 Aug 11, 2020 Tuesday, August 11, 2020 4:26:00 PM CDT August 11, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Public school administrators discussed, Tuesday afternoon, the district's reopening plans, as student prepare for the start of... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, August 11 2020 Aug 11, 2020 Tuesday, August 11, 2020 4:16:00 PM CDT August 11, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — In a new briefing Tuesday afternoon, Columbia police asked the public for information on two separate early-morning incidents.... More >>
21 hours ago Tuesday, August 11 2020 Aug 11, 2020 Tuesday, August 11, 2020 3:53:00 PM CDT August 11, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The parking lot at Tolton Catholic High School will fill up two weeks before Columbia Public Schools. ... More >>
21 hours ago Tuesday, August 11 2020 Aug 11, 2020 Tuesday, August 11, 2020 3:49:00 PM CDT August 11, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- [Breaking news update, published at 4:40 p.m. ET] The Pac-12 Conference CEO Group unanimously voted Tuesday to... More >>
21 hours ago Tuesday, August 11 2020 Aug 11, 2020 Tuesday, August 11, 2020 3:34:00 PM CDT August 11, 2020 in News
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Joe Biden has chosen California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate. It’s a move... More >>
21 hours ago Tuesday, August 11 2020 Aug 11, 2020 Tuesday, August 11, 2020 3:23:39 PM CDT August 11, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – A news conference staged Tuesday put mourners and activists in front of cameras to call on Governor... More >>
22 hours ago Tuesday, August 11 2020 Aug 11, 2020 Tuesday, August 11, 2020 3:02:00 PM CDT August 11, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY — The Jefferson City School Board has agreed to sell the former Simonsen Ninth Grade Center building to... More >>
22 hours ago Tuesday, August 11 2020 Aug 11, 2020 Tuesday, August 11, 2020 2:17:00 PM CDT August 11, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. You can... More >>
23 hours ago Tuesday, August 11 2020 Aug 11, 2020 Tuesday, August 11, 2020 2:09:00 PM CDT August 11, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 85°
2pm 87°
3pm 87°
4pm 87°
5pm 86°