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REI Urges Senate Passage of Act to Prevent Discriminatory Voting Policies

REI is galvanizing its employees and customers around a political cause once more.

The outdoor retailer is calling on its network of customers and employees to urge the Senate to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and outlaw discriminatory voting policies. The Act has already passed The House of Representatives. If passed in the Senate, the Act would would require a federal review of any voting changes in diverse regions and would require all states and localities to notify the public of such changes.

REI, which has previously condemned voter suppression efforts, released a public statement on its website supporting the passing of the Act.

“As a co-op community, the idea that each person has a voice and a vote is core to who we are,” REI wrote in a statement urging people to support the Act on its website. “Voting is how we bring the power of the outdoors to the polls.”

REI is known for publicly engaging its employees and customers with social activism. In April, the co-op launched its Cooperative Action platform, which helps encourage its 20 million members and 15,000 employees to support various environmental, political and social initiatives. The platform often calls upon workers and customers to join campaigns and sign petitions for various causes.

“The idea that one person is given one vote is foundational to our co-op and our democracy,” said REI’s community advocacy and impact program manager Alicia Harvie in a statement to FN. “We are disturbed by the rise in voter suppression efforts around the country and their impact on our members, employees, and customers. REI remains committed to broadening civic engagement, and the JLVRAA would help protect everyone’s right to participate in the democratic process.”

In June, REI announced that it would invest $250,000 in the National Park Foundation to fund all-women fire crews in Yosemite and Grand Teton National Parks. As of June, REI and its private REI Foundation charity had contributed more than $12 million in cash and in-kind support to the National Park Foundation.

REI has also asked its co-op members to purchase used products, which is available at REI via a partnership with upcycling firm Trove, to help avoid product waste. REI has also updated its Product Impact Standards and has outlined plans to address carbon reduction and implement inclusive marketing practices. REI-branded products are all “certified climate neutral.”

According to Harvie, REI’s latest campaign is in line with the retailer’s core values.

“At REI co-op, we’re a community of people who have come together around shared values,” said Harvie. “Democracy is one of those shared values, and we see great urgency to advocate that every person be given the chance to vote.”

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