Sex for Your Vote? Legal Expert Cries Foul

November 7th 2016

Kyle Jaeger

There are plenty of reasons to vote this Tuesday, but the prospect of receiving oral sex in exchange probably shouldn't be one of them.

That's the legal analysis of law professor and blogger Rick Hasen, the apparent go-to expert for unconventional questions about voting rights. After getting a couple of inquiries from reporters about the legality of offering people oral sex if they vote for or against a particular candidate, Hasen tweeted this on Monday:

There's your answer: as a thing of demonstrable value, oral sex cannot be legally offered for a vote.

The reason for the spike in raunchy election questions likely has something to do with recent statements from Madonna and two adult film actresses. Last month, the musician joked at a comedy show that she'd give blowjobs to members of the audience who voted for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. On Monday, porn duo Angelina Castro and Maggie Green made a similar offer, pledging to "give everyone BJs" if they "vote against the orange clown."


Hasen, who teaches at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, argues that "these offers are not serious" and, therefore, do not constitute illegal activity. But while Madonna's offer was clearly a joke, it's less clear that Castro and Green are kidding around. They list terms and conditions for the exchange and have promised further details on logistics post-election, as Mediate reported. (ATTN: reached out to the adult actresses for comment and will provide an update if we hear back.)

It's not just state law that prohibits offering incentives for votes in federal elections.


Under federal law, anyone who "makes or offers to make an expenditure to any person, either to vote or withhold his vote, or to vote for or against any candidate" is committing a crime punishable by up to two years in prison, along with a fine. The same punishment applies to anyone who "solicits, accepts, or receives any such expenditure in consideration of his vote or the withholding of his vote." And if someone is seriously offering sex for a ballot: that's not legal.

Still, Slate reported in 2008 that it's unlikely the federal government would "prosecute every single minor 'inducement' for voters." Regardless, that doesn't mean it's not voting fraud.