Charleston — Secretary of State Mac Warner is pleased to announce the list of 27 West Virginia high schools that qualified for the prestigious Jennings Randolph Award for the 2018-19 school year.
The late Jennings Randolph was a native of Salem, WV in Harrison County. He served nearly five decades in the United States Congress, first as a member of the House of Representatives and then in the United States Senate. Randolph was considered the father and author of the 26th Amendment to the United States Constitution. That amendment reduced the voting age from 21 to 18 years old.
Randolph first introduced legislation for the 26th Amendment in January of 1943. His legislation was in response to then-President Franklin Roosevelt’s executive order in November 1942 reducing the military draft age from 21 to 18 to secure additional soldiers for World War II. In support for the need of the 26thAmendment, Randolph coined the phrase, “If you’re old enough to fight, you’re old enough to vote!”
Randolph’s legislation didn’t pass in 1942. In fact, Randolph had to introduce the legislation 11 separate times (three times in the House and eight times in the Senate) before the amendment was finally approved by both houses of Congress on March 23, 1971. With the approval of Congress, the amendment was then sent to the states for ratification. West Virginia voters ratified the 26th Amendment on April 28, 1971. The amendment was officially signed into law and became part of the U.S. Constitution by then-President Richard Nixon on July 5, 1971.
In 1993, then-WV Secretary of State Ken Hechler created the Jennings Randolph Award to recognize Randolph’s effort and to encourage young people to register to vote. The Jennings Randolph Award recognizes student-led voter registration efforts where 100 percent of the school’s eligible students register to vote (regardless of political party affiliation) during the school year.
During the 2018-19 school year, the Jennings Randolph Award celebrated its 25th anniversary.
Secretary Warner took office in January of 2017. He very quickly directed his Elections Division to work closely with the state’s 55 county clerks to implement an aggressive voter registration effort. Part of this statewide effort included a renewed emphasis on the Jennings Randolph Award and working with the state’s high schools to achieve the award.
“One of the most gratifying parts of my job is meeting with young adults and watching them register to vote,” Secretary Warner said. “I believe if we can encourage them to register as young adults, they will become lifelong voters and active in our election process.”
Over the last 29 months, West Virginia has registered more than 36,000 eligible high school students to vote. There were 15,673 students registered during the 2018-19 school year alone. Attached is a breakdown of the eligible high school students registered in each county.
Warner said that the Secretary of State’s successful strategy to register high school voters has garnered national attention. The Jennings Randolph Award program was recently featured by the National Association of Secretaries of State. Several other states have or are developing similar high school civic engagement programs based on West Virginia’s Jennings Randolph Award.
Secretary Warner credits the success to a great working relationship with the state’s 55 county clerks and with Inspire-US, a nationwide student-led, non-partisan civic engagement program that encourages young people to register and vote. He also credits the Legislature for their support of the program.
In addition to the 27 high schools that earned the Jennings Randolph Award for 100 percent eligible student registration in the 2018-19 school year, another 54 high schools hosted voter registration drives throughout the year attempting to win the award.
A list of the 27 Jennings Randolph Award winning high schools for the 2018-19 school year can be found below.
27 High Schools at 100% for the 2018-19 School Year
Jennings Randolph Award – 25th Anniversary
Berkeley Springs High School – Morgan County
Braxton County High School – Braxton County
Clay County High School – Clay County
Fayetteville High School – Fayette County
Frankfort High School – Mineral County
Hannan High School – Mason County
Hedgesville High School – Berkeley County
Hundred High School – Wetzel County
Independence High School – Raleigh County
Logan High School – Logan County
Man High School – Logan County
Meadow Bridge High School – Fayette County
Midland Trail High School – Fayette County
Mount View High School – McDowell County
Nicholas County High School – Nicholas County
Oak Hill High School – Fayette County
Poca High School – Putnam County
Ravenswood High School – Jackson County
Richwood High School – Nicholas County
Roane County High School – Roane County
Scott High School – Boone County
Shady Spring High School – Raleigh County
Summers County High School – Summers County
Trinity Christian School – Monongalia County
Van High School – Boone County
Valley High School – Fayette County
Williamstown High School – Wood County