Guns, Discounts Are Incentives to Vote

Nov. 7, 2000 -- Think civic duty is not enough of a reason to vote? Some places are offering voters a chance to win a gun or get a discount at a department store as incentives to go to the polls.

In two Atlanta suburbs, a conservative group opposed to gun ownership limits organized a lottery at two local gun shops.

Voters can take the “I Voted” sticker they receive after casting a ballot to American Classic Marksman, in Norcross, Ga.,or Adventure Outdoors, in Smyrna, Ga., and fill out a raffle ticket. All tickets will be placed in a bowl and one will be selected today to win a Benelli Super Black Eagle 12-gauge shotgun.

Doug Frantz, manager of American Classic Marksman, said the raffle was organized not to favor any one candidate on the ballot.

“It’s out of response to the fear of low voter participation this year,” Frantz said.

But a handgun-control spokesman called the raffle “incredibly irresponsible” and said there are other ways to encourage voting.

The winner of the shotgun, valued at $1,500, will have to pay $6 in fees, pass federal and state background checks and comply with the necessary waiting period.

Discounts for Voters

In a Columbus, Ohio, a department store chain agreed to change a promotion offering $10 discounts to early bird voters because elections officials said it may have been illegal.

The Ohio Secretary of State’s office said officials from Lazarus department store appeared to be offering an enticement to vote, which would be a violation of election law.

Lazarus ran a newspaper ad offering the discounts to the first 500 Election Day shoppers at Columbus-area stores who wore one of the “I Voted Today” stickers that are handed out at polling places.

After meeting with representatives from the secretary of state’s office on Monday, Lazarus agreed to remove the requirement that a person display a sticker to receive the discount. It said the discount would be made available to the first 500 people visiting each store and claiming it.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.