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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

With a landmark primary election behind them, California voters are turning their attention to November and the crucial policy decisions that ride on their ballot-box choices.

See also: Survey reveals 'election anxiety' soars for boomers.

More than a quarter of Californians who are eligible to vote are not registered, however.

AARP California is working to ensure that all eligible voters participate at a time when winning federal candidates will face major decisions about the future of Social Security and Medicare.

AARP California is teaming with the League of Women Voters and other groups for a voter education and registration drive in English and Spanish.

The effort includes material posted on AARP California's Facebook page, website and Twitter feed, including information about how to register online, by mail or in person.

AARP will staff a voter registration booth at the Los Angeles County Fair Sept. 5 to 7.

Registrations must be handed in or postmarked on or before Oct. 22.

Californians who are U.S. citizens and who have turned 18 by the Nov. 6 Election Day are eligible to vote. Among the exceptions are imprisoned, paroled and some probationary felons.

The outreach is targeting Los Angeles County, where nearly 3 million voting-age citizens are not registered to vote. Latinos account for nearly half the county's population.

"We're focusing special attention on 50-plus Latinos in Los Angeles County, who are underrepresented when it comes to voter registration," said David Pacheco, AARP California president.

The initiative underscores California's new political landscape.

Thanks to voter-passed initiatives championed by AARP California on earlier state ballots, the June primary this year marked the first time that:

Candidates ran across party lines — meaning the top two vote-getters in U.S. congressional and California legislative races, regardless of party affiliation, were elevated to compete against each other in the November election.

The candidates ran in legislative districts drawn by an independent citizens' commission instead of the legislature.

Next: Commission took redistricting job out of the hands of political powers. »

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