For the Cumberland Times-News
KEYSER, W.Va. — Natalie Tennant, the 29th West Virginia secretary of state, will be the speaker for this year’s Ed Kelley Awards Program.
Throughout her administration, she has been a leader in promoting open and engaging government and business friendly initiatives. Most recently, Tennant spearheaded legislation to allow for online voter registration in West Virginia. In 2013, thanks to years of cost-saving and efficiency programs, Tennant was able to return $3 million of taxpayer money to general revenue.
Tennant’s pilot projects improved voter turnout and decreased costs and secured community voting locations to make it more convenient to cast a ballot. She also initiated online annual report filings that save business owners time and money, and live webcasting and the use of social media for actions her office is taking.
West Virginia has also emerged as a leader on the national stage when it comes to making it easier for deployed military to vote using a safe and secure Internet connection.
Tennant also has more investigations and convictions for election law violations than any other secretary in the state’s history.
She was the first West Virginian chosen for the Aspen Institute’s Rodel Fellowship program. In 2011, the Secretary of State’s Office hosted the National Association of Secretaries of State Summer Conference for the first time ever in West Virginia.
In 2012, Tennant was elected to another four-year term and has filed as a candidate for U.S. Senate in the 2014 primary election.
Tennant resides in Charleston with husband state Sen. Erik Wells and daughter Delaney.
The awards program will be held April 16 at Potomac State College of West Virginia University.