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.
Editor's note: This article originally appeared on Shorewood Patch.