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Hochul signs voting rights bill

Gov. Kathy Hochul signs the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New York in Brooklyn, June 20, 2022.
Don Pollard
Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul
Gov. Kathy Hochul signs the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New York in Brooklyn, June 20, 2022.

There are new protections in place for voters in New York, as Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act into law on Monday.

Speaking at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, Hochul highlighted the civil rights work of both civil rights leaders Lewis and Evers.

“As Medgar Evers knew, there’s so many fights to be had and one of them is protecting the right to vote because democracy only works if everyone who is eligible can participate in it.”

The bill targets voter discrimination, adds enhances legal protections for voters and centralizes election data in New York.

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins said she hopes New York’s legislation inspires the passage of other voting rights bills around the nation.

“Let us continue to be a model, to be an example, to be relentless, fearless and tireless, because in New York we lead,” she said.

A bill by the same name — the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act — was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last fall, but failed to get enough votes in the Senate. In recent years, many Republican-led states like Texas and Georgia have passed laws that restrict voter access.