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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Starbucks, Krispy Kreme Face Penalty For Election Day Freebies

starbucks logo and uncle same

Krispy Kreme and Starbucks have learned that America is the land of the free- except for coffee or donuts.

Today, as many of us head to the  polls to exercise  one of our most valuable and honorable rights,we'll be rewarded with a sense of pride ,an "I voted" sticker, and a sugar rush.

Starbucks promised a free coffee and Krispy Kreme offered a free donut to anyone who showed up with an "I voted" sticker, but their giveaways could prove to be costly endeavors, for a reason other than the one you would expect.  An article in today's Atlanta Journal Constitution, titled "Trouble brews for voter freebies." warned about the possible legal consequences for sugar-seeking voters

Businesses such as Starbucks and Krispy Kreme that plan to reward metro Atlanta voters with small perks like a free cup of coffee or doughnut on Election Day may be running afoul of Georgia law.According to the secretary of state’s office, rewards and discounts being offered today to people who show up with 'I’m a Georgia voter' stickers are illegal, and in fact may constitute a felony under state statutes.Voters who accept such freebies might also be committing a crime.

Part of Georgia Code Section 21-2-570, warns: Businesses are free to offer ‘Election Day’ specials or sales for all of its customers, but gifts, incentives or specials just for voters is prohibited under this provision.


In Washington State, Election officials told the CBS affiliate, KIRO 7  that rewarding voters with free coffee is illegal.Nick Handy, director of elections,said there is a federal statue that prohibits any reward for voting.

No good deed goes unpunished.The way it is written, it expressly prohibits giving any kind of gift. the intent of the statute is aimed at special interest groups trying to influence who and how people vote.

Starbucks adjusted by agreeing to give a tall cup of coffee to anyone who asks for one on election day, but smaller businesses were also caught off guard,including Zaya, a Mediterranean restaurant in Inman Park. The restaurant was offering half prices on menu items under $15, but after a call from a representative from the Georgia secretary of state’s office, Zayas cancelled the promotion.

This multi-state crackdown on coffee, donuts and Italian food is one of the most ridiculous efforts I've ever seen. Election officials have plenty of legitimate concerns to worry about on election day. If the discounts or giveaways were limited to voters for a certain candidate,party or amendment, I could understand the enforcement. 

I find it so ironic, that the same people we put in power are penalizing the companies that  encourage every American to get out and vote with a harmless a incentive.

By Matt O'Hern at 10:10 AM | Comments (3)

(3) Thoughts on Starbucks, Krispy Kreme Face Penalty For Election Day Freebies

So what does that make 7-11, who offered coffee, yes you had to purchse, in either red or blue cups - to poll thier customers on which candidate they were voting for.

I agree - the politicians have better things to worry about - or

better yet, maybe because every citizen is involved & possibly out voting, that people will get voted out of office by people who otherwise had given up on our system & stopped voting?

hmmmm, something to think about over coffee & a donut

Comments by bert : Tuesday, November 04, 2008 at 04:37 PM

I am 22 and I'd like to capture my thoughts before America either elects a president who its first 26 presidents could have legally owned, or brazenly subverts the very ideals it was founded upon by manipulating numbers in a final embarrassingly overt goosestep towards corporate totalitarianism.

I am nervous. And not night-before-the-swim-test nervous or even night-you-lose-your-virginity nervous, it's a low rumbling primal panic which I can only liken to Star Wars panic. Disney panic. The edge-of-your-seat-terror that makes you wonder if Skywalker's doomed after he refuses to join Darth Vader and drops down into the abyss, if the wicked octopus or grand vizier or steroid-pumping-village-misogynist is going to wed/kill/skin the dashing prince and then evil people in dark funny costumes are going to take over the world... if it wasn't a movie of course.

And tonight it's not. It's not a movie and yet I feel like Obama might as well be wearing an American flag cape while a decaying McCain, in a high-tech robotic spider wheelchair wearing an eyepatch and stroking an evil cat, gives orders to a sexy scheming Palin who marches back and forth through their sub-terranian campaign lair in four inch thigh-highs and full-body black leather catsuit bossing around the evangelical ants with a loooooong whip... umm... is this just me?

Anyway, the point is that things feel weird folks. I have friends who have peed in waterbottles to keep from interrupting a Halo-playing marathon who got off their asses/couches to volunteer for the Obama campaign not once, but many times. Friends so cheap their body content is at least 1/3 Ramen Noodle who donated a good deal of their hard-earned cash to the campaign. People have registered to vote in record numbers, and yet, something just doesn't feel right. I think we should stop congratulating ourselves for just voting. To vote is a privilege which people have died for, and I think there's a whole lot more to be done for the country than to simply help win an election every 4 years.

Hundreds of millions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of man-hours spent on both sides by good-intentioned people who want to make a difference in an historic election, so many resources and voices and energies devoted to a single day. After tomorrow, half of that is going to have been a waste. And I can't help but wonder what could have happened if all that muscle had been put towards something else, and what will happen to its momentum after the election has come and gone. Shouldn't we be donating our money to good causes whenever we can? Helping people who don't have? Dedicating some of our time to contribute to making the country which provides for us a better place? Of course a power shift is a hugely significant step on the path to great reform, but worrying about this election has been a wakeup call for me:

Even if Obama wins, we have not "won." This isn't a movie and we can't toss every greedy lobbyist oil fatcat bigot down a reactor shaft. I think if we dedicate ourselves to the ongoing welfare of the country as much as we have to the outcome of this election, we'll have a much better shot at coming closer to the overwhelming good the liberals hope Obama will usher in, but which no mere mortal could fully realize alone.

Which brings me to the other side. I've heard a lot of people claim that if McCain wins, they're leaving. I heard the same thing about Bush's reelection, and his unelection before that, and nobody seems to be leaving. And that's fine. Because as much as I complain about certain political happenings, atrocities, etc., I really do like it here and I suspect most other people do too. We have New York and Hollywood, purple mountain's majesty and sea to shining sea, we created jazz and country music and baseball and cars and lightbulbs and computers and that movie with hundreds of animated singing Chihuahuas! I mean who among the shivering Plymouth pilgrims ever imagined ordering hundreds of animated singing chihuahuas onto a magical box from an invisible information superweb?

The point being, if things don't turn out the way I want tomorrow, I feel compelled, as a college-graduated adultish-type-person, to take a stand. And if I'm going to leave I'm going to leave. But if I'm going to stay I'm not going to sit around whining like I have for the past 8 years. It's like when I don't clean my room because it's dirty and then I blame the dirt. So in my very indecisive way, before you and your screen, I'm declaring my intention to make some kind of stand in the event of -(Ican'tevensayit)-, and encouraging you to consider making one too...

Jump the ship or grab a bucket?
Wasn't everything so much easier back when the worst possible affront to your values was a PB&J sandwich cut diagonally with crust?

Anyways, I guess what I'm saying is that if we're going to stay on board, we should probably be generous with our time and resources when times are tough even more than when the hero saves the day. Because what if he doesn't? And what if he can't? If we're serious about real change, election day should only be the beginning of "Yes we can," not the end.

Hannah Friedman

Comments by hannah friedman : Tuesday, November 04, 2008 at 04:53 PM

The fact that I had to go to a poll in a precinct I haven't lived in for five years, two elections is proof that the Secretary's focus this election is in the wrong arena. I have registered and re-registered with my new address twice over these last three years but I still keep getting sent to the same poll.

Comments by Chandra Kennedy : Tuesday, November 02, 2010 at 11:06 AM

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