CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Secretary of State Mac Warner announced today that 1,096 high school students were registered to vote during the first month of a statewide effort to register eligible high school students to vote.
Working with county clerks and high school administrators across the state, the Secretary of State’s Field Service Team reported that 13 high schools conducted voter registration drives in the month of October. Because of the October 7th special election, the voter registration drive didn’t actually begin until October 9th.
“We are very pleased with the early success of this voter registration effort in our high schools,” Secretary Warner said. “It demonstrates the level of commitment our school administrators and educators have for the civic engagement of our youngest voters. None of this would be possible without our county clerks, who are on the front lines of voter registration and who have taken an interest in seeing the next generation use their voices at the ballot box.”
In West Virginia, the Secretary of State’s Office recognizes high schools who register 100 percent of their eligible students with the presentation of the Jennings Randolph Award. The award is named for former U.S. Senator Jennings Randolph of West Virginia, the father of the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18.
The 26th Amendment was ratified in 1971 after Senator Randolph spent his entire career working to pass a lower voting age, trying 11 times over a 29-year period. Senator Randolph escorted the first 18-year-old to register to vote in the United States, Ella Mae Thompson Haddix of Randolph County.
In the 2016-2017 school year, under Warner’s leadership a record high of 16 high schools earned the Jennings Randolph Award. Warner says he hopes to increase that number this year.
For the 2017-2018 school year, 13 high schools have already hosted voter registration drives. Those schools and the number of students registered are listed below:
• Braxton County High School 75
• Chapmanville High School (Logan) 100
• Fairmont Senior (Marion) 45
• Hedgesville High School (Berkeley) 185
• Lincoln County High School 63
• Nicholas County High School 76
• Nitro High School (Kanawha) 68
• Richwood High School (Nicholas) 76
• Robert C. Byrd High School (Harrison) 30
• Scott High School (Boone) 120
• Shady Spring High School (Raleigh) 107
• St. Albans High School (Kanawha) 101
• Westside High School (Wyoming) 50
According to Secretary Warner, another 14 voter registration drives are being planned in the month of November. The Secretary of State’s Field Services Team works with the county clerk in each county as well as with the principal to help organize the effort in each high school.
Since taking office on January 16, 2017, Warner’s administration has been working closely with the state’s 55 county clerks on cleaning up voter registration rolls. As of October 18th, there have been 74,546 outdated, deceased, duplicate and improper voter files deleted. At the same time, there have been 30,893 new voters registered to vote.