Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed a series of key pieces of legislation on Sunday to make voting easier for residents of his state.
The bills he signed rescinded the previously existing voter ID law, made Election Day a state holiday and allowed residents to vote up to 45 days early without having an approved reason.
The release sent out Sunday by the governor’s office included a statement from Northam that said “these new laws strengthen our democracy by making it easier to cast a ballot, not harder.”
Other elements of the legislation allows voters to automatically be registered to vote when filling out forms on the Department of Motor Vehicles website or in person at service centers; extends in-person poll hours by one hour on Election Day (to 8 p.m.) and expands absentee voting access.
Since Election Day will now be a state holiday, one previous holiday needed to be removed. Lee-Jackson Day, which honored Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, will be taken off the state’s calendar. Lee-Jackson Day was observed by Virginia in January.
Charniele Herring, the majority leader of the Virginia House of Delegates, said “I’m grateful to the Governor for his partnership in breaking down barriers to voting, and ensuring all Virginians have the opportunity to exercise this fundamental right.” Herring represents the 46th district, which includes parts of Alexandria and Fairfax County.