Like many other celebrities in the weeks leading up to the presidential election, influencer and TV personality Tana Mongeau is encouraging her social media followers to vote. But she’s doing it a little differently.
In case you missed it, on Wednesday Mongeau offered to send a nude photo to anyone who sent her proof they voted for President Donald Trump’s opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden. She even shared an image of herself wearing a bikini with Biden’s face swapped in for hers and used the hashtag #BootyforBiden.
The problem with that is that United States law prohibits anyone from offering or accepting payment to vote or not vote a certain way in federal elections. It makes sense: You’re not allowed to straight-up buy votes or pay someone to withhold his or her vote.
Even the popular deals that coffee shops and eateries offer to customers who voted on Election Day are technically illegal. (“Show your ‘I voted’ sticker for a free cup of coffee,” that sort of thing.)
Still, those non-partisan promotions surface at least every two years. They’re just rarely prosecuted, because they’re seen as small crimes.
“Most of the time when businesses offer these incentives, they are just trying to increase voter participation, but it is illegal,” political scientist Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, an assistant professor of public affairs at Columbia University, told the New York Times in November 2018. “Under federal election law and in any case where there is a federal candidate on the ballot, it is illegal.”
Which brings us back to Mongeau’s case. Over the weekend, there were questions about Mongeau having lost her verified account status on YouTube — where she has 5.45 million subscribers — and even a suggestion that it might have something to do with the Biden post. However, that’s inaccurate, because Mongeau’s account has not been verified since last year, after she changed the name of the channel, which is standard procedure, according to YouTube.
Yahoo Entertainment has also reached out to Mongeau for comment.
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