Secretary of State Mac Warner encourages West Virginians to participate in voter registration efforts

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Throughout September, West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner and his office will join with thousands of other elections officials across the country to celebrate National Voter Registration Month.

Every year, some Americans find themselves unable to vote because they miss a registration deadline, do not update their registration or are unsure of how to register. National Voter Registration Month seeks to help eligible voters across the country participate in our democratic process. National Voter Registration Month began in 2002 as an initiative of the National Association of Secretaries of State.

Since Warner took office in January 2017, nearly 130,000 West Virginians have registered to vote. Residents can register for the first time or check and update their current voter registration information at GoVoteWV.com

To promote this effort, Secretary Warner said his office hopes to see at least 100 voter registration drives throughout the state during September. This includes at least one in every county on National Voter Registration Day on Sept. 24, 2019.

“West Virginians should take full advantage of their right to vote and encourage their neighbors to do the same,” Warner said. “All citizens should take a few minutes this month to ensure they are registered and that their voter information is accurate.”

The West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office is an official partner with National Voter Registration Day, which was founded in 2012 and designed to focus the attention of the entire nation on being registered to vote. More than two million Americans have registered to vote on this day since the inaugural year.

Local organizations, student groups, universities, nonprofits and businesses can get involved by hosting a Voter Registration Drive. This can easily be done by any group by submitting a form to the Secretary of State’s Office. The form is available at sos.wv.gov/elections under “Host a Voter Registration Drive.

Anyone planning to host a voter registration drive should consider using the National Voter Registration Day project at NationalVoterRegistrationDay.org. The website provides access to promotional support and materials including an organizer’s toolkit, posters and social media graphics.

As students head back to the classroom, high school student leaders across West Virginia will also engage eligible voters in the electoral process. In the 2018-2019 school year alone, a record 15,673 high school students registered to vote in West Virginia. In the last 31 months under Secretary Warner’s leadership and working with our county clerks, more than 35,000 high school students have been registered to vote.

The Secretary of State’s Office awards high schools which register at least 85 percent of their eligible voter class with the Jennings Randolph Award, an effort to encourage students to discuss the importance of civic engagement and to register to vote.

The award 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. In West Virginia, a voter can register and vote in the primary election at 17 years of age, as long as they will turn 18 before the general election.