Rico Franquez of Charleston becomes 100,000th West Virginia high schooler registered to vote since 2017

By RealWV Staff,

At a voter registration drive held Wednesday morning at Capital High School in Charleston, West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner joined Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick and WVSOS State Elections Director Brittany Westfall in helping Rico Franquez become the 100,000th high school senior registered since Warner took office.

Capital High School student Rico Franquez completes his voter registration during a registration event on Sept. 6. Photo courtesy of Landon Palmer/W.Va. SOS Office.

In January 2017, Warner pledged to get young people involved in the political process by encouraging them to vote. He and his Field Team have been working with county clerks to educate high school seniors on the election process and the right to vote. Also on hand for the event was character actor Lee Dean who portrayed the late U.S. Senator Jennings Randolph of West Virginia. Senator Randolph is considered the “Father of the 26th Amendment” – the Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that reduced the voting age from 21 to 18.

“This is a very proud milestone for us to hit, not just for me personally, but for the entire state,” Warner told RealWV on Thursday. “We have a great legacy here in West Virginia, We shared that with the students, and we saw a very nice turnout. The majority of the students who were in the auditorium came forward to vote.”

Upon Warner’s arrival to the school yesterday, the roll was just 22 registrations short of the 100,000 mark. A raffle was held amongst students wishing to register to determine who would be the 100,000th – an honor which ultimately befell Franquez.

“Now we have to get the word out across the state and reach other high school students who wish to participate,” Warner added. “Getting them engaged, getting them involved in government, having a voice, having confidence in elections is part of the whole plan to help keep those students here in West Virginia. We want them to be engaged, and possibly running for office themselves.”

As Secretary of State, Warner serves as the state’s chief elections officer. When Warner took office, he pledged to clean up the state’s voter registration list. In doing that, he worked with the state’s 55 county clerks to take more than 400,000 deceased, duplicate, out-of-state, and convicted felon voter files off the lists. Those 400,000 voter files represented one in every six registrations in the statewide system.

Character actor Lee Dean, Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick, Rico Franquez, W.Va. Secretary of State Mac Warner, and Capital High School Assistant Principal Angela Cruikshank. Photo courtesy of Landon Palmer/W.Va. SOS Office.
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