FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Early voting only got under way on Monday and already a complaint has been filed.
Colorado Republicans say Democrats wrongly offered Colorado State University students free pizza and T-shirts in exchange for voting.
Colorado state law says campaigners have to be 100 feet from a polling place, but there is some grey area, particularly when a polling place is inside a large public building like CSU’s Lory Student Center.
The Colorado Republican Committee sent a letter to the Larimer County clerk alleging wrongdoing by campaigners for the Democratic Party during the first day of early voting on the CSU campus.
“Operatives for the Democratic Party, or for what appears to be the Obama campaign, had set up a table located right outside the Lory Student Center, which is where one of the early vote locations is,” Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan Call said.
Photos were provided by the Colorado Republican Party that they say demonstrates their concern. They claim the Democratic organizers were too close to the entrance of the polling place and were violating state laws.
“They were essentially offering students and passers-by T-shirts and campaign T-shirts with the impression, very clearly, that you had to go vote first, and if you voted, then they would give you free T-shirts and free pizza,” Call said.
Students involved with the Obama campaign wouldn’t comment, but CBS4 received a statement from the Colorado Democratic Party.
“This is a hypocritical charge … the party that has spent over half a million dollars on a firm accused of voter fraud across the country should join us in encouraging people to vote instead of making frivolous complaints,” the statement said.
“It’s a balancing act, there’s no question about it,” Larimer County Clerk and Recorder Scott Doyle said. “There were some banners put up, there were some signs put up, and there was some question about locations of all of those; and so mid-morning I got involved and we were able to work that out throughout today.”
Doyle says he was able to talk to both sides and the issue was resolved.
“When I did have discussion with campaigners, they were very accommodating. They didn’t want to cause any problems and they wanted gather their stuff up and move back to where they should have been, or where we thought they should have been, and didn’t want to be imposing illegally on anyone,” Doyle said.
As a general rule Doyle is asking campaigners to stay 100 feet away from any door that accesses the Lory Student Center. He also says he expects more of those types of issues to arise as Election Day nears in such a hotly contested presidential race.