Comedy Central, VH1 and MTV Help Previously Incarcerated People Vote

Oct 9, 2020 3:45 PM ET

As we move closer to the U.S. presidential election, we have seen more brands join in creating unique voting initiatives. We’ve reported on clothing lines inspired by Rock The Vote, retailers encouraging and even paying employees to work the polls and marketing campaigns calling on citizens to please vote. But what if a person’s past hinders their ability to vote? This week, three well-known entertainment brands have joined forces to help formerly incarcerated individuals get back the right to vote.

Comedy Central, VH1 and MTV combined efforts to donate $250,000 to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC) to help cover fees previously imprisoned Floridians must pay in order to legally vote. With 1.4 million previously jailed citizens in Florida alone, and the fees varying from $200 to $2,000, this financial boost to the FRRC’s effort could not have come at a better time. Timed to launch on National Black Voter Day, the campaign brings awareness to the fact that of the 1.4 million formerly incarcerated individuals in Florida, one-third are Black. Comedy Central, VHI and MTV were not the only ViacomCBS media companies to work with specific communities to increase voting. On the same day, BET worked with groups like the National Urban League to bring attention to the challenges Black and poverty-stricken citizens face while trying to exercise their right to vote.

Political parties aside, voting is a fundamental right to practice democracy in the U.S., and Americans want to see companies use their resources to encourage and support this right. From Gen Z (75%) to CEOs (55%), our research has found that the majority of Americans feel that companies must address voting rights and access to vote itself. What today’s company example showed is that there are innumerable ways for corporations to increase voting, but the important thing is to just get involved.