Secretary of State Mac Warner encourages students to vote

W.Va. Secretary of State Mac Warner visited Marshall last week and discussed the importance of students and young people participating in the political process. 

“We are encouraging young people to vote by making it easy, using new technology, and making it safe,” Warner said. 

To make sure that every voting precinct is safe and secure for voters and poll workers, Warner is working with county clerks to secure personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer for all 1,708 precincts statewide. 

Recently, Anheuser-Busch produced and donated more than 43,000 ounces of hand sanitizer to be used at polling locations across West Virginia for this November’s General Election. 

Warner said, “We are more ahead of schedule than we were in the primary election. We had a highly successful primary, perhaps the best primary in the nation, here in West Virginia, and we’ve even gotten better for the general election, so people should feel comfortable coming to vote.” 

According to Warner’s team, no cases of coronavirus were traced back to the June 3 primary election, but they are still encouraging to vote absentee ballot if you are uncomfortable going to the polls. 

So far, Warner and his team have tried to get people of all ages to request a ballot by using a smartphone or computer. 

Warner also said West Virginia is the first and only state so far to allow all voters to request an absentee ballot directly from a phone or computer.  

“The key component is good communication with the county clerks,” Warner said. “When they tell me not to send out applications on paper and that they would rather have an electronic form than a paper form, then West Virginia comes up with a solution. We are the first in the United States of America to allow you to make ballot requests from your cellphone.” 

Warner said his campaign has been working to unclog voter rolls and has registered 205,000 new voters, and 58,000 of those voters are students. 

“We should see voting percentages go up because we are using good and new data,” Warner said. 

Warner said he wants people to choose their own level of comfort. 

“If you have someone in your family, or you have a weak immune system, cast your vote as soon as possible, but if you don’t have COVID concerns, then wait to vote at the polls in November,” he said. 

The deadline to register to vote in West Virginia was Tuesday, Oct. 13. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 28. Absentee ballots must be returned in person by Nov. 2 or postmarked by Nov. 3. 

Warner encouraged all citizens to vote regardless of their political ideologies. 

“This is a divided country and there are a lot of issues right now. Whatever you are aligned with, whether it’s a person, party or ideology, find a campaign or party to represent your values. If you don’t vote, then you really don’t have much room to complain,” Warner said. 

Warner also said voter fraud may be a concern with mail-in voting, but he does not discourage students from doing mail-in voting. He advised anyone who suspects voter fraud of any kind to call the 877-FRAUDWV Hotline to report the issue. 

“We have more investigators than we ever have had in this state’s history, so please use this resource if we need to investigate if you see something improper happen,” he said. 

Sequoia Ware can be contacted at [email protected].