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Reynolds-Jackson, Turner Introduce the ‘John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New Jersey’ to Protect NJ Voter Rights

After the 2020 presidential election, many state lawmakers across the country who were critical of the outcome rushed to introduce and pass laws making it harder to vote. Among them are nine laws that could possibly lead to tampering with the elections process and election results in some states.

Continuing the fight to protect the right to vote in this country, Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson and Senator Shirley Turner (Both D-Mercer, Hunterdon) will sponsor legislation to ensure New Jersey elections remain secure and fair now and for future generations of voters. The bill, building upon the esteemed legacy of Rep. John R. Lewis and his work to expand the right to vote, would prohibit deceptive practices, establish a voting database, and make electronic interference a misdemeanor crime.

“Discrimination and interference at the polls have historically marginalized black and brown communities. The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New Jersey will reinforce the right of any person to participate in government elections free of intimidation and interference,” said Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson. “New Jersey has strong voting rights policies which we must continue to protect. We must ensure all NJ voters are always free to cast their ballot without any encumbrances placed on them at both the state and local levels.”

Between Janu­ary 1 and Decem­ber 7, 2021, at least 19 states passed 34 laws restrict­ing access to voting, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. More than 440 bills with provi­sions that restrict voting access have been intro­duced in 49 states in the 2021 legis­lat­ive sessions. The legislators said the bill would take a stand against these unjust trends happening throughout the country targeting voting rights.

“While many other states are passing laws to restrict voting rights, New Jersey has taken steps to expand the franchise and made it more convenient for voters to exercise their constitutional right,” said Senator Shirley K. Turner.  “We are proud to honor the legacy of Congressman John Lewis whose ‘good trouble’ helped advance voting rights in this country so that we can strengthen our democracy for everyone.”

New York recently enacted the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New York in June. Assemblywoman Reynolds-Jackson will introduce the bill at the next Assembly quorum call. Senator Turner introduced the bill on August 8.