I Voted! All The Free Stuff You Can Get On Election Day
Midterm elections aren’t exactly known for their great turnouts — about four in 10 eligible Americans vote in Midterms compared to six in 10 for presidential elections. That still doesn’t stop companies across the U.S. from helping to get out the vote by offering all manner of Election Day freebies. Some companies, like Patagonia, are closing up shop for the day to make it easier for employees to take the time to vote. Elsewhere, restaurant chain Cava is giving its employees two hours off work to go to the polls—and paying them the whole time they’re away.
Here’s our guide to the free stuff and deals you can score when you vote on Nov. 6:
Lyft is working with nonprofits and voter activation groups to offer discounted and free rides on Nov. 6. Uber is also distributing free ride codes through voter groups, and users can find their polling place within the app, which will unlock a $10 off code. Getaround is offering $10 off rides to the poll with the code GETAROUND2VOTE. Lime is offering free bike and scooter rides of up to 30 minutes on Election Day with the code LIME2VOTE18.
Some ridesharing services are offering discounts on future rides for folks who use the services on Election Day. Scooter rival Skip is giving a $5 credit to riders who share a voting sticker selfie. Anyone who takes a Zipcar on election night will get a $20 credit towards a future trip.
Free food and drink
Independent restaurants and bars across the country are offering discounted food and drink on Election Day. The promotions are specifically nonpartisan — the more people vote, the better it is for our democracy. But is it legal? Nation’s Restaurant News spoke to legal experts who said promotional perks for voters could be seen as trying to sway an election.
A federal statute prohibits anyone from knowingly or willfully paying or offering to pay or accepting payment for registering people to vote or for voting, said Anita Stearns Mayo of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP in San Francisco. “Cases have interpreted this prohibition to apply to situations in which the benefit offered was something of value other than cash. So offering a discount on food or drink as an incentive to vote may very well fall under this prohibition,” she said in an email. Violators can face fines and prison time.
But there’s an easy workaround: Offer the promotions to everyone, not just those with an I Voted sticker.