RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — On the day thousands of gun-rights supporters converged on Capitol grounds for Lobby Day, the Virginia State Senate advanced a bill that would allow no-excuse absentee voting.

Senate Bill 111, introduced by state Sen. Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax) passed with a 31-9 vote on Monday. State Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond), the co-patron on SB 111, shared a tweet following the vote.

In Virginia, those who wish to vote absentee can only do so if they provide an excuse out of the 20 acceptable reasons available. Before this year’s General Assembly session convened, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) backed legislation to make it easier to vote in Virginia.

“By making it easier—not harder—to vote, these proposals will ensure we are building a government that is truly representative of the people we serve. I look forward to working with the General Assembly to pass these important measures into law,” the governor said on Jan. 6.

Among other measures, Northam proposed making Election Day a state holiday to ease the process for voters. The governor said in order to ensure the same number of state holidays in Virginia, he would support a bill that would end Lee-Jackson Day.

Similar measures in the Virginia House of Delegates have yet to make it out of committee. House Majority Leader Charniele L. Herring (D-Alexandria) filed House Bill 1, which would also eliminate the need for an excuse to vote absentee in Virginia, in November.

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