MORGANTOWN — Jennings Randolph won by a landslide Monday morning in the main hallway at Trinity Christian School.
And Mac Warner gave the victory speech.
For decades, Randolph, the late congressman who represented West Virginia in Washington, fought to give 18-year-olds the right to vote.
Warner is West Virginia’s present-day Secretary of State who spent several years monitoring election fraud across the globe for the U.S. State Department.
He gave his vote when he showed up at the faith-based school in Sabraton to recognize the seniors in Randolph’s name.
The Secretary of State’s office annually presents its Jennings Randolph Award to schools that boast 100 percent registration among its students who are eligible to vote.
All 35 members of Trinity’s class of 2019 gathered in that hallway to meet with Warner for the presentation.
“I want to congratulate all of you for being participants in this wonderful democracy of ours,” the secretary said.
Trinity is one of just 20 schools across the state receiving the honor this year.
Senior Reagan Sharp, who accepted the award on behalf of the school, was earlier named an “Honorary Secretary of State” by Warner’s office for her efforts to register her classmates.
“Now you guys just have to go vote,” she said.
And voting, said Warner, who, in his State Department role, traveled to Afghanistan and other far-flung locales where ballots are often compromised, is a privilege.
It took 11 times for Randolph to successfully petition for the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18.
The legislation was finally enacted in 1971, as the country was embroiled in Vietnam.
Which was a key motivator.
Randolph’s long contention was that if one could take a bullet for one’s country, one should also be able to cast a ballot for the same.
Today, said Warner, who was also a military officer for 23 years, America is fighting a different war of influence with an old enemy.
“Russian meddling in our elections is real,” he said.
He told the class to be mindful of the manipulation on social media.
Warner held up his cellphone to make his point.
“If you get something on this and it looks fishy, it probably is,” he said. “Be careful. They’re setting us up to mistrust our system.”