GOTV: Cast your Vote, Get some Free Pot?

GOTV: Cast your Vote, Get some Free Pot?

Apparently voters in Eagle Rock, California (a suburb of LA) reported they saw fliers being passed out offering $40 worth of free medical-grade marijuana, as incentives to try and draw residents to vote in the recent local Neighborhood Council election. These fliers had the names of candidates running on the “Progress and Collaboration” slate – a group of candidates opposing the neighborhood council’s “close-minded anti-dispensary mind-set”.

Wait. “Progress and Collaboration” slate…Seriously? Where’s my shocked face.

You know there was a time when something like this sort of “get out the vote” tactic would have been considered buying votes. Bars and liquor stores were closed across the country for this very reason. Neighborhood councils were made up of neighbors who wanted to be involved locally. What the heck happened in Eagle Rock?

Was the free pot an incentive to get a larger turnout? Of course. Nearly 10 times as many voters – 792 residents – turned out to the polls during the recent Neighborhood Council elections than last year. According to this article, more 300 of the nearly 800 votes cast were from “at-large” voters. Michael Larsen, the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council president, said outsiders came from as far as Ventura County to vote in their neighborhood council election. “I kept seeing all these strange faces,” said Larsen, who has been a leading opponent of the medical marijuana dispensaries which seem to permeate this community. He said he called neighbors and encouraged them to attend the afternoon vote to counter the influx of outsiders. Ah! A REAL “get out the vote” strategy!

Some of the Eagle Rock residents are pushing back, having filed complaints thank goodness:

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.”

Yet, the fliers and the free pot did not lead to victory for the Progress and Collaboration slate — only two of the eight “Progress” candidates won. “Progress” candidate Mark Smith, who says he has no idea who was responsible for the fliers, also filed a formal complaint challenging the election results, claiming his opponents used dirty tactics to paint his slate as a “criminal syndicate”. Yeah. The truth hurts sometimes Mark.

The election is now over and Eagle Rock has a new council. One last thought…so now instead of showing ID to vote, do you have to test positive? Just curious.

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