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Warner pleased by student voter registration

PARKERSBURG — More than 22,500 high school students in West Virginia have been registered to vote in 140 registration drives in 18 months, Secretary of State Mac Warner said.

In Wood County, 834 high school students have registered to vote, according to the secretary of state.

County Clerk Mark Rhodes said he wasn’t surprised.

What has helped is people can register when they get their driver’s license and civics teachers in the schools are encouraging students to register to vote, he said. Recent efforts at Parkersburg High and Parkersburg South High registered four students, two at each school, to vote, Rhodes said.

“It’s great that they are registered,” he said.

Rhodes also had demographics for the most recent election, the May primary.

Of the 13,783 people who voted in May, 217, or 1.57 percent, were in the 18-21 year-old range. Another 618 people, 4.48 percent, in the 22-31 year age range voted, Rhodes said.

Also, 113 people over 90 years old, .82 percent of the total, voted in the primary election, he said.

Working with clerks in the 55 counties, Warner said 66,748 new voters were registered statewide. Warner called it an incredible number because 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.

A breakdown of student registrations in other local counties is: Calhoun, 83; Doddridge, 84; Gilmer, 84; Jackson, 433; Pleasants, 115; Ritchie, 120; Roane, 167; Tyler, 130; Wirt, 60.

Warner said he is pleased with the effort to register high school students to vote. The state has registered 22,518 students, he said.

“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,” Warner said. “This is an incredible accomplishment and one that demonstrates our collective effort to give young people a voice in their state and local government.”

Young adults should be encouraged to register to vote and participate in elections, Warner said.

“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 such as Inspire-WV for the registration effort in the last18 months.

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