New Jersey, one of the most diverse states in the country, must be a leader in combatting rampant voter suppression efforts across the country. We must pass a strong version of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New Jersey (NJVRA) to fully protect access to the ballot for all of our residents, especially voters of color whose rights are under attack across America.
A strong version of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New Jersey (A4554/S2997) — or the NJ Voting Rights Act — would protect voters of color and strengthen our democracy by reducing barriers to voting; increasing language access and assistance; prohibiting deceptive practices at the polls; and ensuring that communities of color will have their ballots counted.
Specifically, a strong NJVRA would:
- Require a "preclearance" program that makes local governments with a history of discrimination prove that certain changes they make to the voting process will not harm voters of color before they can go into effect
- Provide new legal tools to fight discriminatory voting rules and procedures in court
- Expand language assistance for voters with limited English proficiency
- Include strong protections against voter intimidation, deception or obstruction at the polls
- Instruct state judges to interpret election laws in a pro-voter way whenever possible
- Create a central database for election data and demographic information that will empower officials and communities to ensure accessible elections
- Ensure local and state voting laws, procedures and regulations do not deny voters of color and other protected categories of voters the right to cast their vote