Ben & Jerry’s has a long history of involvement in political issues; they’ve gotten publicly involved with marriage equality, climate change, and unlimited political campaign contributions, just to name a few. Now they’re getting involved in a new issue: voter ID laws.
The Vermont-based ice cream giant announced Tuesday that they were coming out with a new flavor, Empower Mint, designed to draw attention to restrictive, repressive voter ID laws, especially in North Carolina. The ice cream itself is mint with brownie chunks and a fudge swirl and wait, what were we talking about? All we can think about now is Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
RIGHT, VOTER ID LAWS. Okay, cool. Ben & Jerry’s picked North Carolina in particular because, last month, the state’s voter ID law was upheld by a federal judge. Among other things, North Carolina’s law prevents pre-registering voters before they turn 18, stops same-day registration, disqualifies ballots cast in the wrong precinct, and reduces the early voting period. In general, voter ID laws have been shown to disproportionately target minorities and the elderly — in other words, Democratic voters. Take a wild guess which party is behind the law’s passage in North Carolina.
Moreover, voter ID laws are designed to combat the virtually non-existent problem of voter fraud. As the eponymous Jerry himself notes:
“There’s been an organized and coordinated attempt to keep certain groups of voters out of the process — people of color, low-income people, especially,” Jerry Greenfield, one of the Unilever-owned company’s co-founders, told The Huffington Post in an interview last week.
“Instead of expanding voting and making the United States and democratic as it can be — setting an example for the rest of the world — there has been this effort to prevent people from voting when there’s been no evidence there’s any kind of problem with voting or voting fraud. It’s absurd,” said Greenfield.
Pretty much, yeah.
Ben & Jerry’s also has a pretty persuasive plan to get the word out: they’re sending Antonio McBroom, a franchise owner from Greensboro, around the state in a Ben & Jerry’s van to hand out free scoops of ice cream and literature on how to deal with the voter ID law. We’d pretty much listen to anything said by someone handing out free scoops of Ben & Jerry’s, so this seems an effective strategy.
(Via Huffington Post)