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Hundred High School Receives Jennings Randolph Award

March 28, 2019
BY MADDISEN EIDEL - STAFF WRITER (MEIDEL@TYLERSTARNEWS.COM) , Wetzel Chronicle

On March 18, Secretary of State Mac Warner traveled to Hundred High School in order to acknowledge the school as a recipient of the Jennings Randolph Award. This award is given to schools that have 100 percent of their eligible students registered to vote, and is named after the late U.S. Senator Jennings Randolph. Randolph is known as the father of the 26 Amendment, which was responsible for bringing the voting age down from 21 to 18. Warner told students this amendment came during a time when soldiers who were ineligible to vote were dying on the battle field, defending such rights as that.

Before officially awarding the school, Warner spoke with the students on areas in which West Virginia is leading the nation.

He explained West Virginia oftentimes is seen in a negative lighting. However, he told all present at Hundred High School that the state is actually leading the nation and the world in many areas.

Article Photos

West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner recognizes Hundred High School as a Jennings Randolph Award recipient. Pictured from left are Mac Warner, West Virginia Secretary of State; Jocelyn Prado, Hundred High School student; Beth Sigley, HHS Principal; and Hannah Evans, HHS educator.

One such area is being the first state to allow those serving in the military or living overseas to vote on a mobile device. Warner showed a video to students that described this process. In the video, it was said the heart of America is the right to vote, yet it can be complicated for United States citizens who are overseas.

This is why the West Virginia Secretary of State's Office is piloting a new way for these individuals to vote.

In order to vote on a mobile device, an app must first be downloaded. The user will then be prompted to take a picture of their identification before taking a "video selfie." It was said this app uses the latest technology to its advantage by using facial recognition software to match the picture in the identification photo to the person accessing the app. By having a live video of the person, facial recognition is able to verify the person is real.

Once one's identity is confirmed, a county clerk will send the app user the ballot; he or she will be able to vote. After casting the ballot, the user will once again be prompted to either use finger print or take another live selfie to perform a final verification. An email will also be sent to the user to confirm the ballot is correct.

The user's vote will then go into Blockchain - which was described as a digital lockbox where the vote will be kept secured - until election day. On election day, Blockchain will be opened and the ballot will be counted.

Following this video, Warner told students that West Virginia was also leading the nation in cyber security. He then played a video on this subject. In the video, it was mentioned that West Virginia has a "Fusion Center" that monitors foreign attempts to get into the election system. This center enables the Unites States to stay one step ahead of its adversaries.

Warner explained to students that Fusion is used to shut down attacks conducted over the internet. He told the students that America is on the offense and is fighting back against this threat. Warner explained the process as, "Protect, Detect, Correct."

Warner then told students that West Virginia is only able to lead in such areas as a result of people like them, and said that they are the future.

He then gave a brief presentation about how social media is used against the United States. Warner gave an example of when Russians had manipulated a picture that was later posted on social media, which caused an uproar in the online community. He explained they "weaponize" pictures in order to bring a sense of distrust of the government to the people. Warner said many people assume the goal is to change votes. However, he told those present that the Russian's main goal is to manipulate people's minds. According to the Secretary of State, they do this by manipulating pictures and causing fights to break out by using the country's rights.

Warner explained the Russians are using the United States' strength to their advantage. America has the freedom of speech, religion, and the right to assemble, and it was said these things are all used against the U.S. All of this is done through technology, Warner said.

He told students if people don't get involved or participate in the elections or other various proceedings, then the Russians win. As such, he thanked Hundred High School students for their civic engagement, and presented them with the Jennings Randolph Award for achieving civic engagement for the 2018-2019 year in registering all eligible students to vote.

Jocelyn Prado, who volunteered to translate Warner's presentation into Spanish, was invited to speak. During this time, she encouraged her fellow students to continue to be involved in such matters involving government, and thanked them for all the effort they put into getting this award.

Relatedly, Prado was recently named Honorary Secretary of State.

According to information from West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner's website, located at sos.wv.gov/Pages/default.aspx, the Honorary Secretary of State program is for high school seniors and juniors who have an interest in state government and a love for civic engagement. Students who recognized as Honorary Secretary of States "are leaders in their high schools and have committed to registering, informing, and mobilizing their peers to vote."

This program is the result of Warner's office and non-partisan organizations such as Inspire West Virginia, which encourage eligible high school juniors and seniors to register to vote. More information on the Inspire program can be found at www.inspire-usa.org/about. This program promises to "support high schools in planning and conducting student peer-to-peer voter registration activities."

Prado said she became involved with Inspire about two years ago when she filled out an application to become an ambassador for West Virginia Inspire. After an interview and subsequent acceptance into the program, Prado was able to register 100 percent of her class to vote, which allowed HHS to be the recipient of the Jennings Randolph award.

As less than ten percent of high schools in West Virginia were able to achieve this award, it could be considered a great feat. Students are encouraged to involve themselves in civic engagements whenever possible. This could take the form of registering to vote, or even running for office. Warner encouraged students to make such moves. He then said, "The best way to affect government is to get involved."

In following the good example set by Hundred High School, all individuals who are 18 or older are encouraged to vote and participate in civic engagements.

 
 
 

 

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