Tazewell Board of Supervisors vote to put relocation of Confederate statue on November ballot

Photo by: Virginia Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans

TAZEWELL COUNTY, VA (WOAY) – The Tazewell County Board of Supervisors has elected to send the issue of the relocation of the Confederate statue in front of the Tazewell County Courthouse to a referendum.

The 5-0 vote took place during a specially called meeting on Tuesday evening after the Board listened to comments from approximately 20 residents, considered petitions with hundreds of names, as well as multiple letters and emails on the issue. The decision instructs the Tazewell County Attorney to petition the court to have the issue placed on the November general election ballot. 

County Administrator Eric Young stated “The Board received an overwhelming number of letters, petitions, emails and public comments on both sides of the issue. The members decided, because so many residents were concerned with the issue, that gathering a sense of our people’s will at any one meeting or even a series of meetings would be difficult under normal circumstances, if not impossible under current limitations. The Board concluded that a public referendum would be the best way to consider the desires of all concerned residents.” He continued “Many names on the petitions are those of residents of other counties and states. Some are even citizens of Canada. Holding a referendum also helps the board clearly identify the desires of our Tazewell County residents. If anyone is not registered to vote, they may contact the County Registrar’s office to do so. The deadline is October 13th.” 

Localities in the Commonwealth were given the power to “remove, relocate, contextualize, cover or alter” monuments after both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation and Governor Ralph Northam signed the bill earlier this year. The law took effect on July 1st. The law permits localities to hold a nonbinding, advisory referendum. A separate public hearing and public vote by the Board would be required before any action could be taken. 

Tyler Barker
Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com