National: You Can’t Buy Democracy, Even With Doughnuts

There’s something to be said for bribery, especially when you’re the one getting bribed, and especially when the currency is sweets and coffee. That was the theory, as you may have read in today’s FYI, of Krispy Kreme, Starbucks, and Ben And Jerry’s, when they announced free goodies to people who show an “I voted” sticker.

Plenty of local outfits jumped on the bandwagon, too, such as San Francisco’s Arizmendi Bakery Cooperative. Hot damn, today was going to be a free-food bonanza for those participating in democracy.

But then, a Washington State elections official named Captain Buzzkill put it out there that it’s kind of illegal to reward people for voting. The Associated Press reports:

David Ammons, spokesman for the state elections division of Washington state, had said earlier that a promotion tied to whether people voted could be construed as rewarding someone for voting and could violate federal and state law. He said the state’s attorney general’s office contacted Starbucks about the issue on Monday.

Fortunately, most companies took the generous tack and made their freebies available to everybody. Sure, it makes you a little less special, but at least you still get a treat.

Krispy Kreme seems the most sullen about the bribing kibosh:

Krispy Kreme is giving star-shaped doughnuts with red, white and blue sprinkles to anyone who mentions the promotion, said spokeswoman Ayana Hernandez, but they won’t be required to show an “I voted” sticker.

The company’s 85 company-owned stores will be participating, along with an unknown number of its 145 franchisees, she said. Krispy Kreme estimates it’ll give away about 200,000 of the doughnuts.

“It’s just another way to give customers a free doughnut,” Hernandez said. “It’s not in any way tied to you have to be a member of a certain party, political party or anything like that.”

As of this writing, the company’s website still said customers had to show their sticker to get a coveted doughnut. Brazen!

Companies give free coffee, ice cream for election
Arizmendi Bakery Cooperative [MenuPages]
Arizmendi Bakery Cooperative [Official Site]
Krispy Kreme [Official Site]
Starbucks Promotional Spot [Youtube]
Ben And Jerry’s Free Ice Cream Offer [Official Site]

[Image: Via Krispy Kreme]

National: You Can’t Buy Democracy, Even With Doughnuts