State News

Ben & Jerry unveil new flavor, voter registration push in NC

Posted May 17, 2016

The founders of Ben & Jerry's ice cream launched a new flavor in Durham on May 17, 2016, as part of a nationwide voter registration drive and campaign finance reform effort.

— Ice cream innovators Ben & Jerry were in North Carolina Tuesday to launch a drive to increase voter registration and participation.

Ben & Jerry's co-founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield visited North Carolina Central University in Durham to launch a national campaign that includes a new ice cream flavor, Empower Mint.

The liberal entrepreneurs are working with the North Carolina NAACP and others in an effort to promote the importance of Congress reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act and working to remove the influence of big money in politics.

"We're here today with Rev. Barber and many others to stand up for the right to participate in our democracy, a right that so many people fought and died for," Cohen said in a statement, referring to state NAACP President William Barber. "Since our country's inception, many brave Americans have battled to expand voting rights and voter access for African-Americans, for women and young people, but the recent passage of restrictive policies in North Carolina takes our country backwards."

North Carolina began this year requiring voters to present photo identification at the polls, which the NAACP and others have argued makes it harder for poor, young and elderly voters to cast ballots. Lawmakers also have made other elections changes the NAACP has opposed, such as eliminating same-day registration and shortening early voting by a week.

The Empower Mint ice cream is part of the Democracy is in Your Hands campaign, a year-long effort focused on getting people to take a stand in support of democracy that they said "truly represents the needs of all Americans."

Participating Ben & Jerry's scoop shops across the country will install kiosks to register voters. Trucks offering free scoops of Ben & Jerry's will tour North Carolina this summer with information about the campaign and voter registration.


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  • Demute Sainte May 17, 2016
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    I see a lot of churches ramping up for voter registration drives.... not affiliated with Rev Barber.... and I bet they will beat Ben & Jerry's efforts. Regardless, we have seen record turnouts by minority voters since the ID law took effect. No voter suppression here.

  • Michael Bawden May 17, 2016
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    It is all about the money for Rev Barber. NC taxpayers supported one of his projects to the tune of $350,000. Barber is against big money as much as Hillary Clinton is. How much does the Hil make each speech?

  • Sara Hauser May 17, 2016
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    Aren't Ben and Jerry doing exactly what their buttons say shouldn't be done? Stick to making ice cream!

  • Xander Bogaerts May 17, 2016
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    I don't even like mint ice cream, but I'll buy a pint when it hits the shelves.

  • Kim Schrock May 17, 2016
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    Nothing but Hagen Daz for now on. The policies that were passed are not restrictive. They are common sense. Encouraging legal voters to register with ID to vote is a valiant cause however.

  • Demute Sainte May 17, 2016
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    Wow... Ben & Jerry now support racists.
    Then have the audacity to rail against big business/money in politics. Clearly brain freeze can cause permanent damage.

  • David Lewis May 17, 2016
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    "... and working to remove the influence of big money in politics."

    Then they should have stayed home.

  • Amy Whaley May 17, 2016
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    "Lawsuits challenging changes to North Carolina's election law failed to show it hampered the ability of minority voters to exercise political power, a federal judge ruled Monday in dismissing the cases.

    U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder ruled against the U.S. Justice Department, the North Carolina NAACP chapter and named voters. They sued alleging the law was passed to discriminate against poor and minority voters in violation of the Constitution and U.S. Voting Rights Act." AP 04/26/16

    So what is this reauthorizing of the Voting Rights Act are they seeking?

  • David McCabe May 17, 2016
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    We had the biggest minority turnout ever in the last primary even with the new voter ID law. Were these two even paying attention?

  • Brad Queen May 17, 2016
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    BJ should offer an incentive. I bet peeps wouldn't say it's hard to get ID if they got free ice cream for life for doing it.