BY TAYLOR BENNETT, POLICY COORDINATOR, THE HUB
The last few months have been full of all kinds of civic action for many West Virginians.
The WV Secretary of State’s office is working with WV non-profits like Inspire WV to offer the Jennings Randolph Award, a program that’s helping students in WV take civic action, many for the first time.
The award was first established in 1992 and is given to the school and students who work together to register the highest percentage of eligible high school seniors to vote. The award is given in honor of Senator Jennings Randolph, who championed the 26th amendment, which lowered the voting age of US citizens to 18 years old.
So far in 2018, already 28 schools across WV have applied for the Jennings Randolph Award and students are working hard to create a culture of civic engagement and increase voter turnout from WV schools.
This could have an impact on the upcoming primary elections due to how WV voter laws are set up. Currently, the law says that citizens can vote when they are 17 as long as that person will be 18 by the time of the general election, November 6, 2018.
This means that most current high school seniors can register and students who are currently being registered to vote will be eligible to vote in both the primary and the general election this year.
In a time when we’re seeing huge increases in all types of civic engagement, it’s exciting to see policy action being taken young West Virginians too.