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Quick Hits: Starbucks Censured for Making Voting Too Appealing


Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.

Neanderthal alert in the Pacific Northwest!

The problem isn't Big Foot, the legendary creature of the north woods: It's election officials eager to stomp on a little good fun.

Starbucks (SBUX) promised any customer who came in on Election Day and said they'd voted would receive a free cup of coffee.

Election officials in Washington State harrumphed that the promotion violated the law - because it's illegal to reward anyone for voting.

Oh, please.

The problem isn't rewarding people for voting; it's offering enticements to vote for a particular candidate. In the last presidential election, some Skid-Row habitués were reportedly offered cigarettes in exchange for their vote. That's obviously illegal, and stopping such action is clearly the intent of the law.

Starbucks offered the coffee after the fact, and therefore couldn't influence anyone's vote. Think of the promotion as a celebration of democracy, a tribute to freedom, raising a cup of Joe to liberty, or - well, you get the idea.

Starbucks quickly caved. It now plans to give a free cup of coffee to anyone who asks for one on Election Day.

So, now we know: Fun has been outlawed, there's nothing to celebrate about the peaceful transfer of power on Election Day. The people shall be heard -so long as they shut up and don't offer a free cup of coffee to anyone who's done his civic duty and voted on Election Day.
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