I headed to Starbucks after voting this morning to get a free cup of coffee in celebration of election day. An ad ran during SNL last weekend announcing they would reward voters with free coffee. Starbucks is one of a group of companies including Krispy Kreme and Ben & Jerry’s to offer various freebies to voters. It turns out this kind of incentive goes against more than a few voting laws, so at the last minute Starbucks changed their tune, claiming they were giving out free cups of their Pike Place Roast to celebrate the election day in general.

 I vote on Balboa Island at the local fire station that’s conveniently located a block away from a Starbucks. The voting lines took about an hour (I’ve heard that’s been about the norm) and the smarter folks got their free coffee to sip while waiting. The election drew a sizeable line to the ’bucks, but only a few customers were aware of the promotion.

 Barristas were trying hard to steer clear of legal issues, reminding everyone the coffee was in no way a reward for voting: “This coffee is just for celebrating the election day! You do not have to vote to get one!”

 One thing I noticed: the “free election day coffee” event just happens fall on the same day that Starbucks is introducing their new holiday drinks, holiday-themed red cups, and Christmas CDs. Which makes sense, considering the company’s dwindling sales.

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