Election Day Sales and Specials: First Vote, Then Save

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From a Starbucks (SBUX) coffee to a scoop of Ben & Jerry's, Election Day freebies have long been the rage. This year's giveaways are a little more low-key, no doubt as a result of the economy and the ongoing debate over whether freebies count as (illegal) voter incentives. But don't be fooled by the lack of massive campaigns: Retailers of all stripes are still offering savings to customers who can prove they've cast their ballots. From the serene to the bizarre, there's something for everyone.

Free to Get There and Back

Free rides to the polls are nothing new, and this election will see no shortage of transportation options throughout the country. Two taxi companies in Utah are offering Latinos free rides to the polls through election day. The Ride to the Polls Coalition, a nonpartisan nonprofit project in Minnesota, is offering fully accessible van service for all area residents. And Zipcar (ZIP), the tiny green giant, is running Zip to the Polls, a 50% off promotion for members longing to get to (or away from) polling locations. Members don't have to prove they've voted to take part in the promotion, but Zipcar is actively promoting voter registration and encouraging the rates to be put to good use.

Free to Skip Town

Every red-blooded American who has ever uttered the words "If my guy loses, I'm moving to Canada" might be interested in JetBlue's (JBLU) Election Protection promotion, which allows website users to pick a political party and choose a sunny island destination. 1,006 round-trip tickets (that's 2012 seats) will be given out to people who chose the losing candidate. It's not the only budget airliner with election-themed marketing: Spirit Airlines (SAVE) recently ran a "Binders Full of Sales" promotion with fares "women will love."

Free to Eat, Drink and Be Merry

From free sushi in Houston to discounted room rates in Florida to a free pint in D.C., restaurants, bars and hotels throughout the country are offering election-night specials. The most common? Extended happy hours with half-off food and drink specials.

Free to Get Your Om On

Throughout the Washington, D.C., metro area, fitness outfitter lululemon athletica (LULU) is partnering with local yoga shops to offer free classes. And capital-region residents know that after the past two years, having a quiet, election-free space is priceless.

Free to Take Aim at Democracy

One gun shop owner in Atlanta is offering customers who voted the chance to participate in a raffle. The prize? A Glock handgun or a Browning rifle. (A complaint has been filed with the Georgia Secretary of State's office, claiming the raffle violates a state law banning an exchange of goods or money for voting.)

Free to Stand Among Giants

It's difficult to imagine an election day event more patriotically themed than American Celebration on Parade, in Shenandoah, Va. From the company that makes the floats for inauguration festivities, as well as the NATO, Nuclear Security, and G20 summits, view 27 giant pieces of American history, along with assorted memorabilia, at discounted rates on Nov. 6 with an "I Voted" sticker. Kids under 14 get in free.

Free to Vote

Our right to pick the next president is its own reward. But celebrating that right with yoga, a friendly pint or a raffle has its perks. Many companies may offer off-the-radar specials, and asking is always free.

And the sticker that will get all those savings? That's free as well.

Motley Fool contributing writer Molly McCluskey owns shares of Starbucks and ZIpcar. Follow her travel and finance tweets on Twitter @MollyEMcCluskey. The Motley Fool owns shares of Starbucks, Zipcar, Spirit Airlines, and lululemon athletica, and has written puts on Starbucks. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Starbucks, Zipcar, and lululemon athletica.



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36 Comments

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tammy

I believe like this. The Bible tells us to pray for those in charge of our country, and first is to love your brother no matter how they choose to live their life. I don't think anyone has the right to tell another how to do so. "We have all sinnned and come short of the glory of God." I voted for the person I could believe in. Pray and then vote. Let go of your will and do what God has said to do.

November 06 2012 at 11:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to tammy's comment
gmich352

you are absolutely right

November 06 2012 at 11:36 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
powermetal2000

Ah, election day. Now a retail sales holiday.

November 05 2012 at 11:29 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Helen

I just got paid $6784 working off my laptop this month. And if you think that's cool, my divorced friend has twin toddlers and made over $9k her first month. It feels so good making so much money when other people have to work for so much less. This is what I do, Fox75.com

November 05 2012 at 11:24 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
drmaxchartrand

Whatever you do, vote for Romney!

November 05 2012 at 9:23 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
dus48

yes just vote for love of country not revenge.

November 05 2012 at 7:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dus48

agree with freethedems2012.

November 05 2012 at 7:13 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dus48's comment
freethedems2012

You must be very smart.

November 05 2012 at 9:49 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
smileson

yeah everyone will want to get rid of their inventory so they don't have to pay taxes on it,
look for sone real car prices to come down.

November 05 2012 at 7:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
freethedems2012

It is simple. The takers will vote for Obama. I hope the rest of us outnumber them.

November 05 2012 at 4:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mily469

anne romney telling us a couple weeks ago that she feared for her husbands mental health during the election is serious. it's just the campaign. but then romney is not going to represent 47% of america so the job will be easier for him.

November 05 2012 at 4:33 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mily469's comment
freethedems2012

The welfare bums shouldn't even be allowed to vote.

November 05 2012 at 4:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to freethedems2012's comment
DJ

One comment says it all. VOTE FOR ROMNEY and GOD!!

November 05 2012 at 4:12 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to DJ's comment
freethedems2012

Too bad so many are atheists.

November 05 2012 at 4:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to freethedems2012's comment
smileson

A vote for Romney/Ryan is a vote for God, Home and Country

November 05 2012 at 7:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down