In 2008, on “Saturday Night Live,” Starbucks announced it would give free coffee on election day to anyone with the standard “I voted” sticker, as a reward for voting. They then canceled that offer. This year, the same thing happened after Pound the Hill DC, a coffee shop in Washington, D.C., offered a similar bonus to voters. And in Atlanta, one outdoor shop offering a raffle ticket for a rifle or pistol to those with a voting sticker had to cancel that fun giveaway too. Turns out, rewarding voters for voting is illegal.
It turns out that a giveaway to voters could violate election laws in some states that prohibit gifts for voters. While these laws are generally intended to discourage attempts to influence voters, the lawyers were worried the Starbucks policy might be a violation.
Starbucks ended up giving free coffee to everyone who ordered a tall brewed cup. Pound the Hill Tweeted their apologies for kind of sort of breaking the law—and turned voting sticker day into just, sticker day:
And the gun raffle has been extended even to those who didn’t vote.
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