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Brattleboro Businesses Offer Sweet Incentives For Voting

Ben Keating, who works at Superfresh! Organic Cafe, offer gluten-free cupcakes to anyone who walks in with an "I Voted" sticker.
Howard Weiss-Tisman
Ben Keating, who works at Superfresh! Organic Cafe, offers gluten-free cupcakes to anyone who walks in with an "I Voted" sticker.

Brattleboro voters have extra incentive to make sure their voices are heard on Election Day.

At Duo Restaurant on Main Street, pastry chef Meghan Fairman was busy getting the desserts ready for tonight.

The restaurant is taking part in a downtown program that offers desserts, or discounts — or even free air hockey — to anyone who comes in with an “I Voted” sticker.

Fairman walked over to a cooler and pulled out a small frozen cake.

“And then that right there is lemon semifreddo with a raspberry and blueberry meringue,” she said. “Red, white and blue. Very patriotic for this day of voting.”

Duo co-owner Keith Arnold said he wanted to include his restaurant in the program as one way to maybe offer a little incentive to take part in the democratic process.

“With our nationwide ... midterm election voting, you know, I think it's historically been around 40 percent,” Arnold said. “That’s low. Just in general we think that people need get out and be part of the process and vote.”

So if a free lemon semifreddo or a "chocolate dream" dessert might get someone to drive over to the polls on a rainy day, Arnold was ready to do his part.

Meghan Fairman, of Duo Restaurant, prepares some chocolate mousse for a chocolate dream dessert.
Credit Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR
Meghan Fairman, of Duo Restaurant, prepares some chocolate mousse for a "chocolate dream" dessert. The restaurant is offering free desert to anyone who voted on Election Day.

Nine stores and restaurants across Brattleboro are taking part in the special one-day campaign, so-to-speak.

At the Altiplano clothing store voters could get 20 percent off of one item. At the Brattleboro Food Co-op, anyone with an "I Voted" sticker can get a locally made energy bar.

And at the Superfresh! Organic Café on Main Street, Ben Keating was handing out free cupcakes to anyone who participated in today’s democratic process.

“We got raspberry and chocolate cupcakes,” Keating said. “And they’re gluten-free, made fresh this morning. And delectable.”

Keating said that while the cupcakes are a way to thank people for voting, a shot of sugar can be one way to get through some tense political times.

“So somebody was, like, depressed,” he said. “And they’re like, ‘I’m just worried about voter fraud.’ I was like, ‘You get a free cupcake.’ So there was that woman.”

The polls in Brattleboro, and throughout Vermont, are open until 7 p.m — and the lemon semifreddos will be served until they’re gone.

Howard Weiss-Tisman is Vermont Public’s southern Vermont reporter, but sometimes the story takes him to other parts of the state.
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