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California

Crucial Election for Seniors

Volunteers are needed to help register voters, especially Latinos, by Oct. 22 deadline

David Pacheco, AARP California President

David Pacheco, AARP California president, and other AARP volunteers and staff are helping people register to vote Nov. 6. More than a quarter of Californians who are eligible to vote are not registered. — Photo by Renée C. Byer

The commission took the redistricting job out of the hands of political powers who have a vested interest in creating "safe" seats for the reelection of incumbents.

New power for voters

It all adds up to a newly empowered electorate with a chance to change the profile of its representation in Sacramento and Washington.

AARP California and other reformers pushed the redistricting commission and the "top-two" primary system in hopes of quelling partisan gridlock that they said stemmed partly from incumbents' domination in their party primaries under the old system.

"It's been understandable in the past that folks felt their vote didn't matter much if they lived in a district where the same person got elected every time," Pacheco said.

"We encourage voter education and engagement for real choice, the election of folks who will actually work with each other to help solve the problems of California and the country, to break the gridlock that we've had," he said.

The reforms produced same-party primary winners this year in two of the 17 California state Senate races and 17 of the 80 Assembly contests. In the state's 53 U.S. House districts, eight primary outcomes saw same-party primary winners, including some incumbents whose districts were redrawn, forcing them to run against each other.

To volunteer at a voter registration drive, visit the AARP California website. To read the voter guide that provides state and federal candidates' positions on Social Security, Medicare and retirement security, visit aarp.org/ca or facebook.com/aarpcalifornia.

Also of interest: Power of the 50-plus voters.

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