Community News

John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New York

Center for Law and Social Justice
As Black and Brown voters across the country face the greatest assault on their rights since the Jim Crow era, we need New York to set the standard for state-level voting rights by adopting the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New York (“NYVRA”). That’s why we were thrilled when the NY State Senate voted to approve the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New York (NYVRA) yesterday! We now continue to call for the Assembly to do the same – BEFORE THE 6/2/22 END OF SESSION – so that Black voters and voters of color will once again be protected from voter discrimination.
The NYVRA’s critical protections include:

  • Launching a “preclearance” program that requires local governments with records of discrimination to prove that proposed voting changes will not harm voters of color before they can go into effect.
  • Providing new legal tools to fight discriminatory voting provisions in court.
  • Expanding language assistance for voters with limited English proficiency.
  • Creating strong protections against voter intimidation, deception, or obstruction.
  • Instructing state judges to interpret election laws in a pro-voter way whenever possible, so that close questions of legal interpretation are resolved in favor of the rights of qualified voters.
  • Establishing, through companion legislation, a central hub for election data and demographic information that will empower officials and community members to ensure accessible elections.

But the Assembly must follow the Senate’s lead and pass this bill – and they must act immediately as the legislative session ends on June 2.
If you believe that Black voters and voters of color deserve to be protected by a robust NY State Voting Rights Act, contact your State Assembly members to let them know how you feel. Click this link to find the contact information for your Assembly member and give them a call, send them an email or tag them on social media (or all of the above!) to demand that they vote to pass the NYVRA so that Black communities and communities of color are protected when we make our voices heard at the ballot box.

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