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Civic-mindedness is its own reward, not freebies

A few Valley businesses thought they were rewarding civic-minded patrons Tuesday with free treats.

Instead they got more than they bargained for when they learned they were breaking an overlooked federal election law.

“They just didn’t know,” said Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne. “We called and asked them to stop and they did. No one is talking about punishing them.”

Sprinkles Cupcakes in Scottsdale, Einstein Bagels, Rainbow Donut Cafe and Olive Garden were offering freebies to anyone who showed up wearing an “I voted” sticker.

Ra Sushi, Circle K and Cadillac Ranch Texaz Grill also were patting voters on the back with giveaways.

According to the state’s Secretary of State’s office: “It’s a violation to provide considerations or promise of anything of value to induce people to go to the polls.”

Even though voting-related giveaways are illegal, hundreds of businesses across the country make the offer during election season.

Horne’s office contacted the businesses and each agreed to stop the promotion immediately.