On November 2, 2021, the New York Voting Rights Consortium—a group of leading local and national voting-rights advocates, including the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.—sent a letter to urge all members of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus to co-sponsor the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New York (“NYVRA”).
The bill has been sponsored in the State Senate by Senator Zellnor Myrie as Senate Bill S1046A, and in the State Assembly by Assemblywoman Latrice Walker and others as Assembly Bill A6678A. Some but not all Caucus members are currently sponsors or co-sponsors of the bill. In the letter, the New York Voting Rights Consortium asks that every Caucus member sign on as a co-sponsor of the NYVRA and join us in advocating for the Act’s prompt passage.
The NYVRA gives New York the chance to ensure that all eligible voters in the state have an equal and unburdened opportunity to exercise the fundamental right to vote in state and local elections, free from discrimination based on race, color, or membership in a language-minority group. The NYVRA is a bill of generational importance for all New Yorkers—and particularly for the more than three million registered voters in New York who identify as Black, Latino, or Asian.
By enacting the NYVRA, New York has an opportunity to step forward as a national leader in voting rights, joining the efforts of states such as California, Washington, Oregon, and Virginia, all of which have already enacted state-level voting rights acts. Amidst a wave of voter suppression laws enacted in states across the country, widespread vote dilution, and the absence of federal voting rights legislation, the NYVRA would provide strong voter protections and ensure that all New Yorkers have access to the franchise.
Read the full letter here.
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. Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.