Charleston, W.Va. — Since Secretary of State Mac Warner took office in January 2017, there have been 128,704 new voters added to rolls across West Virginia. Of note, many of these new voters were newly eligible and included more than 36,000 who were high school students when they registered.
Voter registration in most West Virginia high schools is a student-led effort. Today, to distinguish young voters who are leading the charge within their schools, Secretary Warner released a list of students who were recognized as an “Honorary Secretary of State” for the 2018 -2019 school year. The list includes 26 students from 16 high schools in 14 counties.
“These student leaders understand how important it is for young people to participate in our democracy through voting,” Warner said. “They also know that you can’t vote unless you’re registered.”
Nearly 100 high schools participated in the Jennings Randolph Award program. Secretary Warner recognizes up to two students from each Jennings Randolph Award-winning school as Honorary Secretaries of State. During the 2018-2019 school year alone, a total of 15,673 eligible students registered to vote. High School Voter Registration by County.
The Jennings Randolph Award program is an effort by the Secretary of State’s office to encourage students to discuss the importance of civic engagement and to register to vote. It is named for the late U.S. Senator Jennings Randolph, a West Virginia native, who sponsored the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which reduced the voting age from 21 to 18. Those high schools who register 100 percent of their eligible students are honored with the Award for their efforts.
Warner called this past year’s effort to register eligible high school voters a “tremendous success” due to the work of his field team, county clerks, high school teachers and groups like Inspire-WV.
“This level of registration in our high schools is an incredible accomplishment in such a short period of time,” Warner said. “If we encourage young people to register early, hopefully, they will remain active and engaged in the election process. Some may even want to become candidates themselves one day.”
The initiative to encourage eligible voters to register is part of Secretary Warner’s effort to provide secure, fair and free elections. For him, it was imperative on day one to implement a strategy to update voter registration rolls and to identify eligible citizens who were not yet registered and encourage them to get registered to vote.
The Secretary of State’s Office has worked closely with West Virginia’s 55 county clerks over the past 29 months to ensure the accuracy of local voter registration rolls. Processes have been implemented to remove deceased, duplicate, outdated and convicted felon registration files from the voter rolls. In addition, county clerks are working with Warner’s office to remove individuals who have moved out of West Virginia and are now registered in another state.
Between the close of registration for the 2016 General Election and the close of registration for the 2018 General Election, a total of 116,936 outdated voter registrations were removed from the state’s voter files. Since the close of registration for the 2018 General, an additional 70,128 outdated voter registrations have been removed.
During the same 29 month period, the Secretary of State’s Office and county clerks have worked just as diligently to identify and register eligible citizens to vote. To date, more than 128,700 West Virginians have been registered.
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