The Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam has signed a series of new measures into law aimed at expanding access to voting in the commonwealth.
The new legislation included establishing Election Day as a holiday, CNN reports.
“Voting is a fundamental right, and these new laws strengthen our democracy by making it easier to cast a ballot, not harder,” Northam said in a statement. “No matter who you are or where you live in Virginia, your voice deserves to be heard. I’m proud to sign these bills into law.”
Several states and cities have already made Election Day a civic holiday, including Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland and New York.
The new legislation also repeals the Lee-Jackson day holiday which honored Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson as “defenders of causes.” Both men owned slaves and fought to preserve slavery in the US.
Lee-Jackson Day was typically observed with Civil War-themed parades, wreath laying and reenactments hosted by Confederate memorial groups, with defenders of the often-criticized holiday saying it honored Virginia history.
In his State of the Commonwealth speech earlier this year, Northam said: “We need to make Election Day a holiday… We can do it by ending the Lee-Jackson holiday that Virginia holds … It commemorates a lost cause. It’s time to move on.”