Can you measure the value of a vote? Does each one really count? Obviously in 2008, a person’s right to vote is held in high regard. With two days left until the election, early and absentee voting numbers have been staggering. This trend will probably carry over into the turnout numbers for the general election.
Do most people go to the polls because they recognize their civic duty or because they want to support ideas that will shape their futures? I would speculate that most have commendable motives for getting out the vote.
I voted early on Saturday mainly because it was an option. I know the lines on November 4th will probably be filled with men and women who only have an hour off of work to cast their vote. Hoping to avoid adding to the congestion in Tuesday’s lines, I spent 20 minutes voting early. Voters aren’t the only ones sacrificing to take part in the election. Corporations and non-profit groups have already spent millions on educating and registering potential voters. Some normally non-political businesses are also seeing stars and stripes along with dollar signs. What’s more ‘American’ than something free? On Election Day, food-service businesses are rewarding or maybe baiting voters into becoming customers.
Starbucks is offering a fresh-brewed cup of coffee to anyone wearing an “I Voted” sticker. Voters will get a free taco at Taco Bell, a patriotic doughnut from Krispy Kreme, and chicken sandwiches will be handed out at Chick-fil-A. Are these companies shelling out millions in lost profit, all in the name of promoting patriotism? Probably not.
I’d imagine the added bonus will translate into some positive PR and generate a few new customers. This gimmick may be nothing more than a clever marketing scheme to get people lining up at the register. I’ll play along for some free food. As I’m sipping on the fresh-brewed pumpkin spice latte, I’ll be mindful of the real reason I voted and hopefully you will too.
Will these “freebie” giveaways like coffee and doughnuts influence your decision to cast your vote? Why do you vote? Why is it important to take part in the political process? Join in the discussion by commenting below.