BECKLEY, WV (WVNS)– West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner inducted 41 senior citizens in Raleigh County into the West Virginia Voter’s Hall of Fame.

Those gathered at the Raleigh County Commission on Aging to receive their awards on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, had voted in each general election for the past 50 years, the criteria for induction.

Mary Roop received the award in 2021 but came to the ceremony with her friend, June Morris, who received her own certificate from Warner.

Tommy Payne was also inducted.

“I started the voting when I was 18 years old,” said Payne. “I never missed one. I think it’s my patriotic duty.”

The Secretary of State’s Office issues the certificate after county clerks verify the voters’ records.

Raleigh Clerk Danny Moore said there are 40 to 50 voters, on average, who achieve the goal each year.

“To see the number of those here in Raleigh County is very impressive,” said Secretary Warner. “This is the second time we’ve done that, and it indicates a large number of people take their civic duty responsibly.”

Actor Lee Dean, who is also a field representative for Secretary Warner, entertained honorees by performing as Senator Jennings Randolph, the West Virginia senator whose legislation lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 years old during the Vietnam War era.

West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Justice William R. Wooton was an inductee. Wooton remembers the message the late senator shared with those in his generation.

“His mantra was, ‘If you’re old enough for bullets, you’re old enough for ballots,'” recalled Wooton. “That resonated with me at an early age. I think it continues to be true, especially for most West Virginians.”