Starbucks, DoorDash, Ben & Jerry’s and more major foodservice and retail companies are among the 160+ American corporations that signed a letter to Congress in support of amending the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to further protect voting rights.
The letter was sent out on the heels of a growing wave of GOP-backed voting legislation that would restrict voting, like the Texas bills that were introduced this month that add identification requirements for voting by mail and ban drive-thru voting and extended hours during early voting, according to NPR.
Although the letter does not mention specific current bills, the text makes clear that the group of employers does not support the latest restrictions being introduced and passed nationwide by conservative legislators.
“The election highlighted deep inequities in how our elections are run. Despite decades of progress, impediments to exercising the right to vote persist in many states, especially for communities of color,” the letter reads. “We need federal protections to safeguard this fundamental right for all Americans.”
In 1982, President Ronald Reagan passed the fourth reauthorization of the original 1965 Voting Act, extending the law’s reach by 25 years and in 2013, certain provisions outlined in the 1982 bill were declared unconstitutional in the landmark Shelby County V. Holder case.
“Within days, states formerly covered by the law began passing legislation to make voting more difficult with burdensome voter ID requirements, polling place closures, reductions in early voting, the elimination of same-day voter registration, and purging voter rolls, all of which disproportionately affected communities of color,” the letter signed by the 160 employers stated, calling for Congress to amend the Voting Rights Act to “restore necessary safeguards” against discrimination.”
In a letter to Starbucks employees, CEO Kevin Johnson outlined why he believed it was important for Starbucks to sign the letter urging Congress to consider action.
“The right to vote is core to our Democracy,” Johnson said, noting Starbucks’ policies to help create voting plans for employees. “The struggle for civil rights and racial equity in America exists in every aspect of our society, and the democratic process is no exception. We believe that voting should be free of discrimination of any kind.”
The list of foodservice and food retail companies that signed the letter includes:
- Mars, Incorporated
- Mom’s Organic Market
- Ben & Jerry’s
- Clif Bar & Company
- Sameem Afghan Restaurant
Other companies that did not sign the letter but still have expressed support of voting rights include Chipotle and &pizza.
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