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. Read the rest of this entry »