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Starbucks urges baristas to register to vote

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Starbucks will be using TurboVote to make it easy for all U.S. employees to register to vote from both computers and mobile devices. | Getty

 

Coffee company Starbucks is urging its American employees to register to vote, chairman and CEO Howard Schultz wrote in a letter on Monday.

“For decades we’ve created meaningful connections with our customers and served communities,” he wrote in the letter to 150,000 U.S. employees. “We’re about to answer these questions once again by addressing a problem that many partners have identified as extremely important: increasing voter registration and participation across America.”

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The company will be using TurboVote to make it easy for all U.S. employees to register to vote from both computers and mobile devices.

Schultz said that he got the idea from a February forum with employees in Brooklyn when he asked what the company could do to emphasize citizenship.

One shift supervisor told him that he should “make people aware of the importance to vote” which “would be phenomenal.”

“Our intention is nonpartisan, and it is simple: by helping to increase voter registration and participation, we believe more people will have an opportunity to make their voices count,” Schultz, who’s donated to Democrats in the past, wrote in the letter, provided first to POLITICO.

Schultz, who wrote a New York Times op-ed last August saying he wouldn’t run for president, has tried to re-orient the company toward being more activist, hiring more veterans, paying college tuition for employees to enroll at Arizona State University, and launching a dialogue on race last year called “Race Together,” which got mocked online.

This is not the first time Starbucks has promoted voting; they gave customers who said they voted on Election Day in 2008 a free cup of coffee.


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