COLUMBIA (WACH) --The South Carolina National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is concerned about a new potential voting controversy in the Palmetto State. This time involving intimidation involving a Midlands business; according to the organization.
President Lonnie Randolph Jr. said he has received several calls from workers at Lexington based Brandi Inc. According to Randolph, employees are being told to vote against President Barack Obama in the upcoming election; thanks to a company-wide letter that was sent out.
"I don't know of any business that is reputable that tells you what they can and can't do with their vote," Randolph said.
The letter states the potential negative changes to the company's insurance costs and workers health plans under the Affordable Care Act; also known as Obamacare.
NAACP Attorney Tom Turnipseed said the letter amounts to intimidation.
"It is a threat. Jobs are at stake and so fourth. 'We want you to go out and vote against Obamacare'. If that does not send a message of how to vote, I do not know what does. To use Obamacare, Obamacare over and over again is really a violation of the Voting Rights Act."
Brandi Inc. owns several Pit Stop gas stations across the state. In response, Brandi Inc. President Robert Brandi sent WACH the following statement:
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"The letter reminds people of the importance of voting and encourages our employees to go to the polls and make their voices heard. Nowhere in the letter do we tell people how they should vote. It does highlight how we feel some important issues could impact our business (which employs nearly 700 people in the Columbia area) and other businesses similar to ours across the nation. We stand behind the statement encouraging people to learn about the issues and exercise their right to vote as the responsible citizens of our community that we believe them to be."
Randolph said he has also heard about harassment, intimidation, and voter influence at polling locations across the state including Bamberg, Lancaster, and York Counties.
"We do not care who people vote for. But we want to ensure that the process of voting is one that is as painless as possible and as peaceful as possible."
WACH tried to contact the State Election Commission. Our phone calls and emails were not returned. The NAACP has notified the U.S. Attorney's Office and plan on notifying the State Law Enforcement Division.
To read the full letter, click here.