Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to employees: Go vote!
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is almost as well known for his political activism as for his coffee.
Now he wants to help boost the U.S. voter turnout for this year’s election.
In a letter Schultz sent to the company’s 150,000 employees Monday, he unveiled a new website staffers can use to register to vote from any computer or mobile device. He cites the fact that “fewer than 60% of eligible voters cast ballots in the 2012 national election.”
The site is operated exclusively for Starbucks by TurboVote.org, a nonprofit website that teams up with civic organizations to help people vote.
“Just visit the TurboVote site and in a few minutes, you can register to vote and sign up for important reminders to stay informed about local and national elections,” Schultz wrote.
Schultz also said that Starbucks will cover the cost of any mailings TurboVote sends to employees, such as absentee ballots.
The idea stemmed from a February employee forum in Brooklyn where Schultz asked “what Starbucks could be doing to elevate citizenship in our country.” A shift supervisor named Fred Verillo responded by saying that he thought making people aware of the importance of voting would be phenomenal.
Schultz has a long history of launching company initiatives that address hot-button issues from race relations and minimum wage to guns. Starbucks also has a program to pay for two years of college for employees and offers many workers health benefits.
“Our intention is nonpartisan, and it is simple: by helping to increase voter registration participation,” Schultz said, “we believe more people will have an opportunity to make their voices count.”