This week, the Virginia House voted to strike Lee-Jackson Day from the list of state holidays. The holiday, observed on the Friday before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January, honors Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson as “defenders of causes.”
Both men owned slaves and fought to preserve slavery in the US.
In its place, the House bill proposed that the state replace it with Election Day, the first Tuesday after the First Monday in November, instead.
Gov. Ralph Northam included the measure in his 2020 legislative proposals. If Election Day becomes a state holiday, he said, it’ll be easier for Virginians to vote.
“We need to make Election Day a holiday,” he said in his State of the Commonwealth speech last month. “We can do it by ending the Lee-Jackson holiday that Virginia holds … It commemorates a lost cause. It’s time to move on.”
The Virginia Senate passed an identical bill last month. Both chambers will need to approve the legislation before it appears before Northam.
Versions of this idea are all over; we talked about how some municipalities are junking Columbus Day in favor of Election Day, this is a great trend since we don’t seem to have a functioning Congress any more, it is up to the states to do these things.