CHARLESTON — There has been a lot of media coverage nationwide on efforts to clean up voter registration rolls and the methods used by state and local election officials to keep voter rolls accurate and properly updated. But not as much coverage has occurred over efforts to register new voters.
In just 18 months since taking office and working closely with the state’s 55 county clerks, Secretary of State Mac Warner reported a total of 66,748 new registered voters statewide. This is an incredible number of new voters considering that 2017 was not an election year.
“Our county clerks and their staff members have been doing an excellent job of making it as easy as possible to register to vote. They are on the front line and I give them all of the credit,” Warner said.
Warner said he is particularly pleased with the effort to register high school students to vote. Warner used a break in the action at the recent Election Security Conference the Secretary of State’s Office hosted in Morgantown to thank the county clerks and their staff for working with him to encourage young people to register.
“Over the last 18 months and with more than 140 voter registration drives throughout the state, we’ve worked together to register more than 22,000 high school students to vote. This is an incredible accomplishment and one that demonstrates our collective effort to give young people a voice in their state and local government,” Warner told the clerks and staff members in attendance.
“We need to encourage our young adults to register to vote and then to participate in elections. If they have a voice in their state and local government, perhaps they’ll be encouraged to stay here in West Virginia,” Warner said.
Warner also credited high school administrators, teachers and civic engagement groups like Inspire-WV for the success of the registration effort in just 18 months.