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Posted: May 18, 2016

Ben & Jerry's supports voting rights with 'Empower Mint' ice cream flavor

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 02: Ben & Jerry's previously released Late Night Snack”, a flavor in honor of Jimmy Fallon. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Ben & Jerry's)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 02: Ben & Jerry's previously released Late Night Snack”, a flavor in honor of Jimmy Fallon. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Ben & Jerry's)

By Katie Link

In the name of "benefiting democracy," Ben & Jerry's has released a new flavor with a political agenda. It's called "Empower Mint."

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The peppermint ice cream with fudge brownies and fudge swirls is meant to call attention to voting restrictions in states across the country.

"We need to have a democracy that represents everyone," founder Jerry Greenfield said.

Founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are passionate about this subject. The two were arrested at the U.S. Capitol earlier this year while protesting with Democracy Awakening -- an event aimed at curbing big money spent on campaigns and state laws targeting voting rights.

The founders chose to launch this new ice cream flavor in North Carolina, a state where they say certain voters -- "particularly Black people and their allies" -- are unfairly kept away from the polls. 

The Tarheel State requires voters to show a photo ID at the polls. In addition, citizens in the state can't register and vote on the same day. 

Ben & Jerry's planned to be "on the ground" in the state -- an employee traveling around in a "scoop truck," raising awareness about voter registration and the Voting Rights Act.

"You can talk about very serious and very important issues but in a way that incorporates ice cream. And that's a way to connect with people on an emotional level and also on a gustatory level," Cohen told MSNBC.

The company has used this strategy before. Other flavors like "I Dough, I Dough" and "Save Our Swirled" were created to support same-sex marriage and fight climate change. 

The company has also dipped into the 2016 presidential race, creating a mint-based Bernie Sanders flavor.


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