CA: Fliers Offering Voters Free Marijuana Leads to High Turnout

CA: Fliers Offering Voters Free Marijuana Leads to High Turnout

Fliers offering voters $40 worth of marijuana led to increased turnout in an October 13 Neighborhood Council election in Eagle Rock, California. 

Voters in Eagle Rock reported they saw fliers with names of candidates running on the “Progess and Collaboration” slate that offered them free marijuana if they voted in the Neighborhood Council elections. 

According to CBS Los Angeles, “nearly 10 times as many voters – 792 residents – turned out to the polls during the recent Neighborhood Council elections than last year” and residents were able to collect enough signatures to put the issue of whether pot dispensaries should be banned in the city on the ballot. 

“You can’t pay your way like that, that’s not cool,” resident Danielle Sargent told CBS Los Angeles.

Yet, the fliers did not lead to victory for the Progress and Collaboration slate — only two of the eight “Progress” candidates won.  Residents accused a local marijuana dispensary of distributing the fliers. 

According to Patch, such a tactic would be illegal and Eagle Rock residents filed complaints: 

The complaint alleges that a medical marijuana dispensary located in the Rampart area of Los Angeles distributed flyers that offered individuals $40 worth of marijuana if they voted for certain candidates whose names were printed on the flyers. (The names on the flyers pertained to a slate of candidates running under the Progress & Collaboration banner led by presidential candidate Nelson Grande II.)

The distribution of such flyers–and the inducements contained in them–are a violation of the California Election Code (section 18522), according to the complaint. Without establishing any connection between the candidates named on the flyer and the violations election law, the complaint demanded, however, that any of the candidates on the flyer who won the elections should be deemed as either having committed “voting irregularities” or their victories termed “unverifiable.”

Progress candidate Mark Smith also filed a formal complaint challenging the election results, claiming his opponents used dirty tactics to paint his slate as a “criminal syndicate,” and, as CBS Los Angeles noted, L.A. City Council Jose Huizar submitted the flier to the L.A. City Attorney’s office to see if any legal action can be taken.

Eagle Rock finalized the election results this weekend.