County debates Election Day as holiday

The Commonwealth of Virginia has made Election Day a state holiday, but Louisa County government employees might not get the day off.

While it’s customary for county staff to have the same holidays as their state-level counterparts, at least two members of the Louisa County Board of Supervisors objected at their Aug. 17 meeting.

“I don’t see why we need a full holiday to go vote,” said Supervisor Tommy Barlow (Mountain Road District). 

In recent years the county has observed 13.5 holidays each year, according to County Administrator Christian Goodwin. Last winter, the Virginia General Assembly eliminated Lee-Jackson Day as a state holiday and replaced it with Election Day.

Then, in June, Governor Ralph Northam announced that Juneteenth would be a state holiday, at least for this year. The county promptly followed suit for its employees.

Barlow reasoned that since staff had Juneteenth off, they shouldn’t also get Election Day off. Supervisor Toni Williams (Jackson District) echoed Barlow’s comment that staff don’t need a whole day to vote. 

Supervisor Eric Purcell (Louisa District) said he sees the matter differently.

“In light of what we see going on and the issues people are having with the mail, whether real or perceived, it doesn’t change the fact the precincts are going to be slammed [on Election Day],” he said.

The board’s personnel committee, which includes Williams and board Chairman Bob Babyok (Green Springs District), made plans to discuss the matter and report back to colleagues at the Sept. 8 meeting.

Note: The board agreed on Sept. 8 to give county employees two hours off to go to the polls.

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