Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) submitted written testimony in support of New York State Senate Bill S7528, also known as the New York Voting Rights Act (NYVRA). The NYVRA would reestablish preclearance, a procedure that requires localities to obtain permission from the State attorney before changing their voting procedures, for jurisdictions in New York state that have a history of voter discrimination, including those that were previously covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
Below is an excerpt from the testimony:
Racially discriminatory practices in the electoral system have consequences that preclearance can prevent and correct. Preclearance was designed as a unique and powerful intervention to stop discrimination before elections take place. An election with conditions later found to be racially discriminatory has consequences. Officials elected under unlawful conditions influence and create policy that affects all constituents in their jurisdiction. They may write and implement legislation that allows them to maintain power or that targets communities with viable claims of discrimination. Even if future elections are not tainted by discriminatory practices, those elected to office under unlawful conditions have already accessed and used powers intended only for candidates who constituents fairly and democratically elected. The inability of the courts to retroactively correct these wrongs further disenfranchises and discourages voters who may understandably believe that their vote does not matter if discriminatory voting practices are left unaddressed.
Read the full testimony here.