MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Berkeley County’s two youngest registered voters took their civic duty seriously Tuesday when they cast their ballots for the first time.
Both high school students were eligible to vote in the primary election after registering with the county clerk’s office because they will turn 18 on or before the November 4 general election, said chief deputy Bonnie Woodfall.
Woodfall, who checked voter registration records to confirm this distinction, said she is pleased the new voters were excited to get started.
“I’m really happy because we need to get some new voters out,” she said.
But they weren’t the only young people who took advantage of this opportunity to make their voices heard.
It was the big day for Republican Saira Blair, a 17-year-old senior at Hedgesville High School who was on the ballot for the House of Delegates in the 59th district. As a way of getting voters’ attention, Blair had friends at six polling places who waved her campaign signs throughout the day and early evening.
Thrilled that so many of her peers wanted to help, Blair said it was disappointing that the election turnout seemed sparse – so much so that some of her volunteers were shifted to other precincts.
Blair, who is the daughter of Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, said she knew the others were excited to be a part of the local political process.
“We are the face of tomorrow, so we might as well get started today,” she said.
It was also a history-making day for Emily Bushman, a Martinsburg High School senior, who is officially the county’s youngest registered voter since she was born Nov. 4, 1996 – but it’s a distinction she didn’t know she held.
Not that it really matters to her, because Bushman was simply eager to begin voting and saw an opportunity to get registered one day at school, she said.
There had been a kind of running joke in the family about her being born on Election Day, she said.
“My mom always tells me that’s the only time she didn’t get to vote,” Bushman said…