So you’ve got free donuts and a free scoop of ice cream. Now on November 4, Starbucks wants to reward you voters with a free cup of coffee. Launched last night on “Saturday Night Live”, the commercial, part of the “Shared Planet” campaign, states that everyone who votes will get a cup of Starbucks coffee. Sounds like a deal. Now would you believe there are people who actually have a problem with this? KCBS-TV in Los Angeles apparently has questioned the legality of providing what could be seen as bribes to voters.
There is a California Elections Code, section 18521 (b), which prohibits rewarding people for voting or not voting. Another California companion statute contains similar language, saying the law is meant to prevent people from being bribed with money, food or alcohol. Technically speaking, any violation of the law could get you a prison sentence of 16 months to 3 years.
Whoa. All I want is my free cup of coffee after I vote on Tuesday morning. (I’m getting nervous about the long lines around the country for the early voters. My polling place is just across the street from my home.) But it looks like Starbucks is prepared to deal with any legal issues. According to a spokewoman, the coffee giveaway is being presented “more in the tradition of democracy and celebrating it.” She added: “We are using the honor system and not asking for any proof that anyone voted.” You know what this means, don’t you? Starbucks better be prepared to make truckloads of coffee for everyone. And there happens to be one around the corner from my polling place, so guess where I’ll be?
In the interest of getting out the vote on Tuesday, legal or illegal, let’s propose a few more freebies to round out our daily food and drink intake. Hey, corporate America! Listen up! Us voters want to be fed for fulfilling our civic duty on Tuesday.
• Jamba Juice: Free breakfast smoothie with organic granola
• Taco Bell: Free burrito supreme
• Benihana: Free banana tempura dessert
• Applebee’s: Free Spinach and Artichoke dip appetizer
• Denny’s: Free Grand Slam breakfast all day
• KFC: Free Popcorn Chicken
• IHOP: Free Root Tooty Fresh n’ Fruity breakfast all day
• Wendy’s: Free bowl of chili
• McDonald’s: Free iced coffee
• In n’ Out Burgers: Free milkshakes
Hungry now? Get out there and vote on Tuesday, remember to get your free food and appreciate the joy of being in America.