CHARLESTON W.Va. — Nitro High School senior Lauren Volk has been waiting years to vote in an election.

She got her chance Wednesday morning as early voting opened up across West Virginia.

Volk and a couple dozen seniors from Nitro High School cast ballots for the first time ever, as they arrived at the Kanawha County Voter Registration Office in downtown Charleston.

“I have wanted to vote probably since I was a small child,” Volk said. “I would say since I was 9 or 10 years old and saw my parents doing it and seeing political signs up. I was thinking, that’s something I really want to do.”

“Especially as it’s been leading up to it and in the last couple of years, I wished I could vote so bad.”

28 first-time voters from Nitro loaded the buses and traveled to the voting office along with their teacher Kizmet Chandler and nonprofit organization Inspire WV.

“It makes it pretty exciting to be the generation that starts this,” Kelsey Legg, a Nitro senior, said. “We saw with the teacher strikes last year that a lot of kids in our grade were supporting it. To watch and see things that keep growing and going, to be a part of the movement is so exciting to me.”

“When there is power in numbers and change happens, you see your opinions matter.”

Inspire WV will also be accompanying Logan High School tomorrow, Saint Albans High School on Thursday, Clay County High School on October 30, and Capital High School on November 2 to the polls.

“I feel like voting is our civic duty,” Volk said. “Because we have a say in what policies our country institutes and what leaders we put into office and that’s very important so that we can have good laws that promote prosperity and peace in our country.”

“I think that is what the founders wanted and I think that is why voting is so important. It’s because we need to have a say in what goes on in the country and the direction it goes in.”

Secretary of State Marc Warner says nearly 1-in-3 new voters in this election will be a high school student.

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