Provisions meant to strengthen voting rights and ballot access were approved Monday by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul after similar efforts on the federal level have stalled.
Hochul's approval of the bill, signed at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn and named after the late civil rights leader and congressman John Lewis, came as the country observes the Juneteenth holiday.
The new law will implement a new procedure for political subdivisions, school districts or local governments, that have a history of voter disenfranchisement to apply for pre-clearance for any changes to procedures for holding elections.
It will also bar tactics that are deemed to be efforts to intimidate voters, expand language assistance beyond federal provisions and seeks to prevent the diultion of votes by protected classes of people.
"Here in our state we are not bystanders," Hochul said. "We're going to stand up to the injustices. We don't just say something, we do something."
Lawmakers proposed the measure in order to address a 2013 Supreme Court decision that relaxed a key portion of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Democratic lawmakers throughout the country have raised alarms over restrictions approved in some states that Republicans have maintained is meant to secure ballot integrity.
"We're going to fight back against vote suppression and intimidation," Hochul said, pledging further action on the issue.
Hochul had signaled her support for the proposal earlier this year in her State of the State address.
Opponents of the law, including the state Conservative Party, contend the measure is unnecessary and addresses problems that do not exist in New York.
State officials in recent years have implemented measures meant to expand access to voting, including 10 days of early voting prior to any general or primary election.
Voters, however, have rejected measures that are meant to further expand voting laws, such as ending a set of requirements for obtaining an absentee ballot.
The voting law changes are among a series of bills Hochul has approved this month following the conclusion of the legislative session on June 4.
Hochul, who is running for the Democratic nomination in order to secure a full term, previously approved measures expanding gun laws as well as laws meant to bolster access to abortion services in New York.