Posted by 11 February 2020
A day honoring Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson may soon be removed from the list of Virginia state holidays. Instead, legislators want to give Election Day that honor.
Both the Virginia House and Senate have passed bills that would make Election Day a state holiday. This new holiday would replace Lee-Jackson Day, which is currently celebrated on the Friday prior to Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. Election Day was a holiday in Virginia until 1989.
Supporters of this idea argue that it will encourage voting by giving people the day off. They also say that Virginia should not celebrate Confederate generals, so ending Lee-Jackson Day is a good trade-off for an Election Day holiday. Opponents counter that there is no need to make Election Day a holiday, since the polls are open all-day and voters can request absentee ballots. They also argue that ending Lee-Jackson day is a blow to the state’s history.
Governor Ralph Northam said he supports this legislation.
Democrats in the legislature had been pushing to end Lee-Jackson Day for many years. However, the Republican-controlled legislature had never passed such legislation. With Democrats gaining control of both houses of the legislature in 2019, this bill is now likely to become law soon.
Do you think Virginia should have a holiday honoring Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson? Should Election Day be a holiday?