Governor Kathy Hochul is celebrating Juneteenth by bolstering New York's election laws.

Hochul signed the landmark John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act into law on Monday during a ceremony at Medgar Evans College in Brooklyn.

Don Pollard, Office of Governor Hochul
Don Pollard, Office of Governor Hochul
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The act is named in honor of the iconic Civil Rights activist and congressman John Lewis..

"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 said. "Today, we honor the work of the late Congressman John Lewis and activists like Medgar Evers as we make meaningful changes to our laws that enfranchise voters and ensure the voices of the people are heard in our democracy. Where the federal government fails to act, New York will continue to step up and lead the way: we did it with abortion protections, we did it with gun safety reforms, and I'm so proud to say we are doing it again with voting rights."

Under the measure, the state will provide language assistance to voters who aren't proficient in English and punish those who try to deceive voters or unlawfully block them from voting.

The act has also reinstated a preclearance provision requiring certain jurisdictions to prove new election laws do not discriminate against voters of color.

The governor's office says the new law cements New York State's place as a national leader on voting rights and fulfilling a key part of the Governor's 2022 State of the State agenda.

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