Rabb introduces legislation to remove Columbus Day holiday, replace it with Election Day holiday

HARRISBURG, Oct. 7 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., has introduced legislation to remove Columbus Day as a holiday and replace it with a holiday on Election Day. 

“We ought to be naming holidays after people who deserve honor as determined by our collective values and collective lens,” Rabb said. “Christopher Columbus not only didn’t ‘discover’ America, his accidental landing in the Bahamas in 1492 led to a legacy of enslavement and genocide.  

“Celebrating a man who is connected to such atrocities might have been something people in power in the past were interested in doing, but now, people like me, people who want to lift the legacies of those from our history who deserve that recognition, want to right the wrongs of the past.” 

Rabb’s legislation would remove Columbus Day, which is observed on the second Monday in October (Oct. 11 this year), as a state holiday in exchange for adding a state holiday on Election Day, the first Tuesday in November (Nov. 2 this year).  

“If we want to acknowledge a day truly deserving of our collective respect, I can think of no better day than Election Day, when the masses, the people our government was designed to serve, take part in one of our most valuable democratic practices, and cast their ballots for the people who will represent them,” Rabb said. “The added benefit of making Election Day a holiday is that it makes the sacrosanct act of voting even more accessible to more people.” 

In addition to this legislation, Rabb has introduced legislation to make the second Monday in October, currently Columbus Day, Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Rabb said the holiday would honor the indigenous people on whose land our commonwealth exists.