New York's new voting rights legislation explained

On Monday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed new voting rights legislation that strengths the Voting Rights Act of 1965, making it more difficult for officials to create new rules that repress voters based on race.

"At a time when the very foundation of our democracy is under threat, New York is leading the nation with new laws protecting the fundamental right to vote," Governor Hochul, 63, said at the signing ceremony in Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn.

Under the new law, called the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New York, local governments and districts with a history of discrimination must seek approval from New York state officials in order to pass legislation.

New York is one of the first states to bring back the process known as "preclearance" which was once part of the original 1965 Voting Rights Act. Preclearance was removed as a requirement in 2013 in Supreme Court case Shelby County v. Holder.

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Additionally, the new legislation will give voters who do not use English as a first language access to more language assistance and provide legal tools to fight discrimination while voting.

The bill is inspired by the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act, a bill proposed in Congress last August that would restore and strength parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 like the preclearance clause.

Members of Congress have been trying to get the bill enacted into law for nearly a year but the bill has failed to pass through the Senate.

Governor Hochul recently signed into law a gun control bill making it more difficult for people to obtain a firearm in New York and encouraging others to report alarming behavior seen online.

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