06/25/2013 06:00 pm ET Updated Jun 25, 2013

West Virginia Finishes Last In Voter Turnout For 2012, Blame CNN


The Charleston Gazette reports that the state of West Virginia takes home the dubious distinction of having the lowest voter turnout of any state during the 2012 election:

West Virginia was last in the nation in voter turnout in November, the only state where less than half of eligible voters voted, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau released in May.

Young West Virginians in particular lagged behind. Less than 23 percent of 18- to 24-year olds voted in West Virginia, the worst voting record of any age group in any state in the country.

According to the Gazette, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant deems this to be a "huge disappointment." She goes on to note that there were structural factors involved as well:

"We didn't have a presidential election here in 2012. Mitt Romney didn't have his campaign here, Barack Obama didn't have a campaign here, not like it was in 2008." Tennant said. "We were overlooked by both sides of the presidential candidates for obvious reasons. People see how you run campaigns and if you see the writing on the wall, you're probably not going to spend your resources in a place."

Ahh, but long-time readers may remember that there was another factor in play that might have hurt West Virginia. Back in October of 2012, the people at CNN took it upon themselves to remedy the problem of low voter turnout by launching their "Change The List" campaign. The initiative noted the fact that the state of Hawaii had the lowest voter turnout during the 2008 election and set out to fix it. CNN asked people to tweet encouragements at Hawaiian voters, do stuff with Instagram and leave comments on YouTube, all in an effort to "convince" random people in Hawaii to go vote.

Today, Hawaii proudly stands in 49th place in voter turnout. When CNN launched its campaign, West Virginia was 49th, so it makes sense that moving Hawaii out of that spot would, in all likelihood, drop the Mountain State into last place. Thanks for "changing the list," CNN.

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