Charleston, W.Va. — In the 2018-19 school year alone, a record 15,673 high school students registered to vote in West Virginia thanks to a statewide effort by the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office to get eligible citizens to vote. In addition to the office working closely with the state’s 55 county clerks to host voter registration drives in schools, one non-partisan group has actively worked with student leaders in nearly 100 high schools to engage students in the electoral process.
On Tuesday, West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner recognized the Inspire West Virginia team and Inspire U.S. National Director Chelsea Costello Hornyak with the “National Association for Secretaries of State (NASS) Award for Exemplary Effort to Civic Engagement in High Schools.”
Secretary Warner nominated Inspire for the award because the group has helped West Virginia lead the nation in creative and successful voter registration programs for eligible high school students.
“Inspire West Virginia is a great program because it is a student-led effort,” Secretary Warner said. “It encourages student leaders to work with their classmates to talk about and discuss the importance of voting. Everyone knows that you can’t vote unless you’re registered.”
Since Warner took office 29 months ago, more than 130,000 citizens have been registered to vote. Nearly 36,000 of those new voters were eligible students attending West Virginia high schools.
Inspire has been operating in the Mountain State since 2015. The West Virginia group is part of a larger national effort known as Inspire U.S., which has high school civic engagement efforts in 11 different states across the country.
“My office is very proud to work with Inspire West Virginia and the results demonstrate the success of our combined efforts,” Warner said. “The Inspire program has helped energized a new generation of student leaders and voters here in West Virginia.”
Photo: (Left to Right) Inspire West Virginia Regional Coordinator Olivia Hubbard, Inspire U.S. National Director Chelsea Costello Hornyak, Secretary Warner, and Inspire WV State Director Olivia McCuskey.
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