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Press Release

New York State Assembly Passes John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New York; Brennan Center Reacts

Bill restoring legal protections against racial discrimination for state’s voters of color awaits governor’s signature. Would make New York national leader in voting rights.

June 1, 2022
Contact: Julian Brookes, Media Contact, brookesj@brennan.law.nyu.edu, 646-292-8376

For Imme­di­ate Release
June 2, 2022

Today the New York State Assembly passed the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New York (A. 6678E/S. 1046E). The bill would restore many of the legal protec­tions against racial discrim­in­a­tion that recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions have taken away from voters of color. The state senate passed the bill on May 31, and it awaits the governor’s signa­ture.

Sean Morales-Doyle, acting director in the Voting Rights Program at the Bren­nan Center for Justice at NYU Law, had the follow­ing comment:

“The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New York is what this state needs to fight racial discrim­in­a­tion in voting. With today’s vote, New York State is one step closer to equal access to the ballot box, regard­less of race. The governor must sign this crucial legis­la­tion without delay.

“This bill would restore the protec­tions New York’s voters of color lost as a result of two devast­at­ing blows to the federal Voting Rights Act — the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in Shelby County (2013) and Brnovich (2021). The bill would also add new protec­tions against racial discrim­in­a­tion in voting that go beyond those in federal law or the law of any other state. 

“In New York State, voters of color face dispro­por­tion­ate barri­ers to voting compared to white voters. The legis­la­tion passed today, together with much-needed improve­ments in elec­tion admin­is­tra­tion, is key to making New York a modern, inclus­ive, multiracial demo­cracy.

“At a moment when too many other states are making it harder for people of color and Native Amer­ic­ans to vote, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New York can make this state a national leader in voting rights. Governor Hochul must sign this bill.”