As states across the country engage in the greatest assault on voting rights since Jim Crow, New York has an opportunity in 2022 to set a new standard for protecting the freedom to vote and continue its journey from “worst to first” on voting rights.
The New York Voting Rights Consortium—a nonpartisan group of civil rights organizations including LDF, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, the Asian American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (AALDEF), and the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College—explain the benefits of the NYVRA in a new fact sheet and LDF and the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) provide further context and analysis in a new white paper. The one-page fact sheet is available in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole.
State lawmakers are actively considering the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New York (NYVRA, S.1046A / A.6678A). This transformative law would build on successful state voting rights acts already on the books in California, Washington, Oregon, and Virginia to provide voters of color the most comprehensive protections in the country.
New York once had some of the most restrictive voting laws in the nation. Policymakers in Albany have made progress toward establishing a new reputation for the Empire State as pro-democracy, but their job is not finished. Even today, there are persistent barriers to equal participation by Black, Latino, Asian, and Native American voters: district lines that weaken Black and brown voting power, inaccessible polling locations, inadequate language assistance for voters who don’t speak English, and even outright voter intimidation. And New York’s registration and turnout rates still rank near the bottom, with even lower rates for voters of color.
The NYVRA builds on the strongest parts of the landmark federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 to protect New York voters against discrimination. The General Assembly is considering the law in 2022—just in time for New York to lead as other states move backwards and Congress struggles to move forward on voting rights.
Read the full white paper here.
Read the one-pager on the NYVRA—in English, Spanish, or Haitian Creole—at the links below:
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.
The New York Voting Rights Consortium is a non-partisan coalition consisting of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., and others. The New York Voting Rights Consortium is committed to the full enforcement of federal and state laws that protect the voting rights of people of color.