VIRGINIA (WDVM) — As Congress continues forward with voting rights legislation, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine highlighted just how important those rights are in his home state.

Sen. Kaine explained to members of the press that in the 2021 gubernatorial election, the state of virginia saw a 25% increase in voter turnout. He said that new legislation at the state level allowed for easier access to the polls.

Sen. Kaine also said that at one point, Virginia was ranked 49th out of 50 in term of ease of access to the ballot by different nonpartisan analyses. The state has now jumped to 12th.

He says this jump in voter turnout needs to be a lesson for the federal government.

“Virginia’s experience demonstrates something very powerful: if you protect people’s rights to vote, if you make it easier for them to vote, if you do things to guarantee the accuracy of the vote and increase people’s confidence that their vote will be counted. It’s not just good for one party or the other. It’s good for democracy,” Sen. Kaine said.