Q Several candidates for office are promoting giveaways as a part of their campaigns to solicit support in the upcoming primary and/or general election. This conduct could be construed as violating Section 23-1-561, so are these giveaways prohibited and, if so, is the conduct only prohibited on Election Day?

A Whether specific conduct is lawful is a question of fact which cannot be answered by official opinion. Section 23-1-561 prohibits a candidate or candidate’s representative from offering any prize to be “raffled, drawn for, played for or contested for” in order to encourage people to vote or refrain from voting “in any election.” Since the 45-day absentee balloting period is part of the election, the prohibition would apply to Election Day and the 45-day absentee voting period. (Attorney General’s Opinion to Turner, May 17, 2019)