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Former West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant Joins Brennan Center

Tennant was instrumental in passing automatic registration in West Virginia last year. She’ll use that experience and expertise at the Brennan Center to help advance automatic registration legislation and policy initiatives in the states.

April 4, 2017

Natalie E. Tennant, former West Virginia Secretary of State, has joined the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law as Manager of State Advocacy on voting rights and elections.

Tennant served as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2017 and was instrumental in passing automatic voter registration in West Virginia last year. She will use that experience and expertise at the Brennan Center to help advance automatic registration legislation and policy initiatives in the states, as well as other reforms to improve the voter registration and voting process.

West Virginia is one of six states, and the District of Columbia, to approve automatic registration, a transformative policy that saves money, increases accuracy and participation, and curbs the potential for fraud.

“The Brennan Center is thrilled to welcome Natalie,” said Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center. “She was a strong champion of voters’ rights as West Virginia’s Secretary of State. Her insight and experience will be an invaluable addition to our team as we work to increase access to voting across the country.”

“Natalie brings a deep understanding of election administration, voting, and the political process to our work to improve voting in America. Her skills are especially needed at a time when our voting systems are in critical need of an upgrade,” added Wendy Weiser, director of the Center’s Democracy Program.

“We have come to know and work with Natalie because of her strong advocacy for automatic voter registration,” said Myrna Pérez, deputy director of the Democracy Program. “We couldn’t be more excited that she will bring her skills in election administration, campaigning, and coalition-building to our efforts to pass automatic voter registration in the states.” 

“The Brennan Center is at the center of the fight to preserve and expand the right to vote for every eligible citizen. I’m extremely honored to join the Center in advancing that mission,” added Tennant. “Improving our voter registration system will help millions of Americans sign up and participate in our great democracy. That’s what I helped achieve in West Virginia, and I’m excited to work with the Brennan Center to transform voter registration nationwide.”

As Secretary of State, Tennant was a fierce advocate for voting rights, expanding voting locations to rural outlying counties in West Virginia. Tennant was appointed as a co-chair of the Standing Committee on Voter Participation, where she worked to improve communications between states regarding their voting practices. Before taking office, Tennant ran a small business and was a news anchor for more than 12 years. She is a graduate of West Virginia University where she received both her B.A. and Master’s degrees.