Northam proposes measures to make voting easier in Virginia

Capitol Connection

Gov. Ralph Northam (File photo/AP)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Gov. Ralph Northam believes his proposals to make Election Day a state holiday and expand early voting will help ease the process for voters in Virginia.

Northam announced legislative proposals aimed at increasing “access to voting” just two days before the 2020 legislative session begins.

“Voting is a fundamental right,” Northam said Monday. “But in a state that once put up tremendous barriers to voting, too many people are still unable to participate meaningfully in our democracy.”

In the commonwealth, voters are obligated to provide a reason to vote absentee through the mail but not when voting absentee in-person within 45 days of the election. Northam’s proposal would permit Virginians an opportunity to vote during the 45 days before the election.

READ MORE: Democrats reveal 2020 priorities before the new General Assembly convenes

“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.

Del. Charniele L. Herring (D-Alexandria), the House majority leader for the 2020 session and patron for Northam’s proposed measure, filed House Bill 1 in November. Herring’s bill would eliminate the need for an excuse to vote absentee in Virginia.

In order to make Election Day a state holiday and ensure the same number of state holidays, Northam is backing a measure that would end Lee-Jackson Day.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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