​​New York eyes its own voting rights act after failure at the federal level

As the near-term passage of federal voting rights legislation grows increasingly unlikely, voting rights advocates and state legislators in New York are amassing pressure to pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New York (or the NY VRA). The bill would expand multilingual ballot access beyond the minimum currently required at the federal level. It would also establish a state-level version of the now defunct “preclearance” provisions originally passed in the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965. State-level “preclearance” would require regions in New York with a history of racist or discriminatory election laws to submit any new election policies to the state attorney general or a state court for approval before they were enacted. If passed, it is likely that all of New York City would be subjected to preclearance. The bill is expected to receive a full vote on the state’s Senate floor. Governor Hochul has not yet confirmed whether she plans to sign the bill should it reach her desk. 

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