Did McDonald's Commit A Crime By Giving Hotcakes To Voters?

Reader Josh writes us with concerns that a Chicago McDonald’s Franchisee committed a crime by offering free hotcakes to “early voters” in Chicago. He writes:

In Chicago, some McDonald’s restaurants are offering free hotcakes to people who early-vote in the local runoff elections! My friend cashed in this morning and enjoyed her hot breakfast.


This is almost certainly a violation of Illinois law:
(10 ILCS 5/29

1) (from Ch. 46, par. 29

Sec. 29

1. Vote buying.
Any person who knowingly gives, lends or promises to give or
lend any money or other valuable consideration to any other person to
influence such other person to vote or to register to vote or to
influence such other person to vote for or against any candidate or
public question to be voted upon at any election shall be guilty of a
Class 4 felony.
(Source: P. A. 78


This certainly does seem wrong. Is a hotcake a valuable consideration? We suppose it is if you’re hungry. Then again, this is Chicago we’re talking about. As Stephen Colbert once said, “Your municipal government is notoriously corrupt.” And our McDonald’s. —MEGHANN MARCO

UPDATE: We took our Chicago knowledge for granted. Yes, the pancake flier does name the candidate up for election: Alderman Howard Brookins. From Chicagoist:

According to the person who spoke with us at the campaign headquarters (who refused to give a name) this is a “campaign contribution” from a business leader in the community who supports Brookins.