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WI Democrats Accuse Romney of Handing Out Sandwiches for Votes

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin said Tuesday it has filed a election bribery complaint with state election officials and the district attorney after GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan handed out free Cousins Subs.

[Editor's Note: This article was originally published on Shorewood, WI Patch.]

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin is alleging that Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan committed election bribery by offering "subs for votes” in Waukesha on Tuesday.

Party Chairman Mike Tate said at a press conference that Democrats have filed a complaint with the Government Accountability Board, the state agency that oversees elections in Wisconsin, and with the Waukesha County District Attorney's office.

shows Romney and Ryan handing out the sub sandwiches. Additionally, a video edited by the state Democratic Party shows Romney leading a rally and telling supporters to go vote, and “If you want another sandwich, there are more back there.”

State law prohibits offering something valued at more than $1 in exchange for a vote.

Tate said it’s a clear-cut case of election bribery.

“We have pretty clear video evidence of Mitt Romney and Congressman Ryan handing out free sandwiches, and at the same time encouraging people to go cast a ballot,” Tate said.  “It’s very clearly against Wisconsin election law.”

Reid Magney, a spokesman for the GAB, told Patch that his agency had received the complaint, but would not be investigating the incident because it is a criminal matter. It will be up to the district attorney to decide what action -- if any -- should be taken.

Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel could not be reached for comment on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon.

Even though the GAB is not investigating the incident, Magney said the agency routinely tells campaigns not to give away anything of value to voters.

"We advise candidates and businesses not to provide food, beverages or any other inducement to thank people for voting or to get them to vote," Magney said.

It doesn't matter whether a candidate gives away something as part of a general "get out the vote" effort, or if a candidate is trying to entice someone to vote a certain way, he added.

"We believe voters should vote because they care about the candidate or the process," Magney said. "Not because they got a free sandwich or a free beer."

However, Romney told WISN12 news the allegations are ridiculous and it’s a laughable stunt by the Democrats to distract from President Obama’s policies that have resulted in “record job losses and skyrocketing gas prices.”

Tate is calling for an investigation by election officials and criminal sanctions to be imposed.

What do you think of the "subs for votes" allegations against Romney and Ryan?

cheers April 05, 2012 at 12:34 PM
That is a far cry from 99 weeks of unemployment checks, food stamps, crony business loans for failing companies, and so on... the current president and his administration have been and continue to hand out for votes. Now shut up and let's eat!
Jeff Peterson April 05, 2012 at 01:03 PM
I'm getting used to seeing county- and state-level stuff on here, but however did this piece (which mentions neither Fairfield nor Connecticut) make the cut?
Carolo April 07, 2012 at 01:11 AM
Dems accuse him? It was right on TV. Hard to deny what our own eyes can see but then, some do like those blinders.
Carolo April 07, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Free stuff is Wisconsins own voting rules whether you like them or not. I guess that means 15 year olds can vote now too?
DM April 11, 2012 at 12:42 AM
With all the national news you could feed us here...This... about sandwiches in Wisconsin!? This smell's like an agenda here.

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