Starbucks urging employees, customers to vote in 2020

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Starbucks brewed up a workplace plan to allow baristas to prioritize time to vote.

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The coffee giant on Thursday said it would ensure its 200,000 U.S. employees have the ability to vote on Election Day this year and plan ahead to volunteer at polling facilities.

Starbucks is implementing new tools to ensure workers and customers can register to vote. (Noam Galai/Getty Images)

The company has created a portal for employees to register to vote, request a mail-in ballot and volunteer to help make this year’s election accessible and safe during COVID-19. It’s also educating customers on how to do so via the Starbucks app.

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“As citizens in a democracy, we have the right, and the responsibility, to vote,” Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in a letter to baristas Thursday.

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“This is not political…it’s ensuring thousands of Green Apron individual voices are heard.”

Starbucks is the latest company to promote workplace policies to encourage voter turnout. Walmart said it would give its 1.5 million staffers up to three hours of paid time off to cast their ballot. Apple will also give employees four hours off and companies such as Uber, Lyft and Best Buy have joined the nonpartisan campaign “Time to Vote” led by the business community pushing to give workers enough time off to vote. The campaign has more than 600 companies on board.

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Starbucks has actively encouraged its customers and staff to vote over the years. The chain teamed up with TurboVote in 2016 to create a tool that lets baristas register to vote.

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