MADISON, Wis. (CN) - The Democratic Party of Wisconsin claims Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan bribed voters with sandwiches during the Tuesday primary: a Class 1 felony punishable by 3 1/2 years in prison.
At an "Election Day Lunch" at a Cousin's Subs sandwich shop in Waukesha County, one of the most conservative counties in Wisconsin, Romney told the crowd, "Thank you for voting. If you haven't yet go out there and vote. Take some friends, it's the only way to vote multiple times legally and if you want another sandwich there are more back there," according to the complaint to the Government Accountability Board, which oversees the state's elections.
Melissa Baldauff, research director of the co-plaintiff Democratic Party of Wisconsin, claims the sandwich-for-votes scandal puts the democratic process at risk: "The public's faith in electoral activity free from any corrupting influence is a vital component to the democratic process," she says in the complaint.
"A reasonable person would understand that Romney's statement was an offer of a sandwich for individuals who were going to vote in the Republican primary, or who had already voted in the Republican primary, and that the sandwiches had been provided not by Cousins Subs, but by respondents," the complaint states.
What's more, the Democratic Party has the brazen sandwich caper on video
, according to the complaint.
Baldauff claims that Romney, Ryan and Romney for President Inc. violated Chapter 12 of Wisconsin Statutes - a Class I felony - by offering a thing "of value" - a sandwich worth more than $1 - in exchange for votes.
Wis. Stats. Section 12.11(1m)(a) states "that any person who offers, gives, lends or promises to give or lend, or endeavors to procure, anything of value, or any office or employment or any privilege or immunity to, or for, any elector, or to or for any other person, in order to induce any elector to:
"(1). Go to or refrain from going to the polls;
"(2). Vote or refrain from voting;
"(3). Vote or refrain from voting for or against a particular person;
"(4). Vote or refrain from voting for or against a particular referendum; or on account of any elector having done any of the above.
Violates Chapter 12, Wisconsin Statutes," according to the complaint.
Baldauff also cites Wis. Stats. Section 12.60(2)(a), which states: "If a successful candidate for public office, other than a candidate for the legislature or a candidate for national office, is adjudged guilty in a criminal action of any violation of this chapter under sub. (1) (a) committed during his or her candidacy, the court shall after entering judgment enter a supplemental judgment declaring a forfeiture of the candidate's right to office. The supplemental judgment shall be transmitted to the officer or agency authorized to issue the certificate of nomination or election to the office for which the person convicted is a candidate. If the candidate's term has begun, the office shall become vacant. The office shall then be filled in the manner provided by law."
Finally, she says the defendants also violated Wis. Stats. Section 12.60(2)(b), which states: "If a successful candidate for the legislature or U.S. Congress is adjudged guilty in a criminal action of any violation of this chapter under sub. (1) (a) committed during his or her candidacy, the court shall after entering judgment certify its findings to the presiding officer of the legislative body to which the candidate was elected."
Baldauff asked the Government Accountability Board to refer the complaint to a district attorney for investigation.
A Class 1 felony is punishable by up to 3 1/2 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. According to unofficial reports from the AP, Romney won Wisconsin's GOP primary.