The Nevada Native Vote Project posted photos on Facebook on Election Day of smiling voters holding $25 gift cards after handing over their ballots.
The posts have since been deleted but not before they were archived. The removal may have had something to do with the U.S. criminal code, two distinct sections of which impose fines and prison sentences for “whoever makes or offers to make an expenditure to any person, either to vote or withhold his vote.”
Offering gift cards for ballots wasn’t the only way the Nevada Native Vote Project enticed people to vote. In a video that could be seen on Facebook on Nov. 24, Bethany Sam, the public relations officer for the Reno–Sparks Indian Colony, urged people to come out and vote by offering “some extra swag that we can give out.”
“We have twenty-five $25 gift cards to raffle off so that’s a lot of money in cash here,” Sam said, adding that voters need only send a photo of themselves at the polling place to enter. “We have also four $100 gift cards to give away, so again you want to make sure to get out here and vote. And then, we have four $250 gift cards to raffle. And our grand prize is going to be a $500 Visa gift card to the person or native voters who came out early this week for early voting.”
Sam stood beside two older people who were holding free T-shirts they received for coming out to vote. She added that more shirts were still available, in addition to keychains, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and stickers.
People were offered a chance to win cash and expensive prizes on or before Election Day in places other than Nevada. The Epoch Times has reviewed photos and videos that document the same scheme in eight other states, including the perennial battlegrounds of Arizona, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.
“Vote buying is a federal crime. Whether FBI agents and the DOJ Election Crimes office is willing to involve itself is a separate matter altogether,” Logan Churchwell, communications director with the Public Interest Legal Foundation, told The Epoch Times in an email.
Another scrubbed video shows Sam promoting a swag giveaway in front of a Biden-Harris bus sometime before the end of Nevada’s early voting period on Oct. 30.
“If you can, get down here and get yourself some swag, see the Biden-Harris campaign bus and then you can go in person or drop your ballot off at our Reno polling location here,” Sam said.
“We have a lot of our community members here waiting to get their swag,” she added, speaking through a Biden-Harris mask. “Get down here and get your swag and vote.”
The Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians in Michigan offered $20 gas cards to anyone who sent pictures of themselves voting. The group also didn’t immediately respond to a request sent to its Facebook page.
“At this time, no evidence of widespread illegal voting activity has been reported in Michigan. The Michigan Department of State has zero tolerance for illegal activity and urges anyone with evidence to report it to law enforcement or the Michigan Bureau of Elections,” Jake Rollow, the director of communications for Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, said in an email to The Epoch Times.
Corazon Arizona promoted a cash raffle for people who sent in a picture of themselves with their ballot.
“People! This is all you have to do to enter the raffle! Post a ballot selfie … to win money! Don’t forget to use your voice and vote before November 3, 7pm!” Stephanie Salgado wrote on Facebook, instructing her audience to tag Corazon Arizona.
The office of the Arizona secretary of state didn’t immediately return an emailed request by The Epoch Times for comment. Corazon Arizona, which promoted the raffle on its Facebook page on Oct. 29, also didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
A video from Washington shows a “Native vote team” in front of a Biden sign promoting a voter raffle for a $200 gift card and other prizes. A Facebook post from the same group said the raffle included two dozen $25 gas cards. At the prize drawing for the raffle, one of the participants said “you won $25 worth of gas how cool, just for voting.”
Lummi Native Vote 2020, the group which promoted the raffle, posted a photo of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on its webpage on Nov. 7. “We did it,” the post read. The group didn’t immediately respond to a request sent to its Facebook page.
The office of the Washington secretary of state didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
The Nez Perce tribe in Idaho raffled off gift cards worth $50 to $500, a Smart TV, and an Apple iPad for people who cast an absentee ballot, voted, or registered to vote. The tribe didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment; the Idaho Elections Division also didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The American Indians in Texas group on Facebook raffled off gift cards worth up to $250 and a 58-inch television.
“Congratulations and thank you to everyone for making your vote count,” the post announcing the winners said. The organization didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment. The office of the Texas secretary of state also didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Councilwoman Shayla Davis of Garfield Heights, Ohio, posted on Facebook offering $25 gas gift cards, T-shirts, and masks for people who came out to vote. Davis didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request by The Epoch Times for comment. The office of the Ohio secretary of state also didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.