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AARP Virginia and League of Women Voters to Host 2012 U.S. Senate Debate

AARP Virginia and the League of Women Voters of Virginia are teaming up to make sure their voices are heard during the 2012 campaign by hosting The People’s Debate between Virginia’s candidates for the U.S. Senate.

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“For more than 25 years, non-partisan voter engagement and education has been part of AARP’s mission to help Americans live their best lives,” said AARP Virginia State Director Bill Kallio. “We are proud to sponsor the People’s Debate because AARP informs its members and the general public about the candidates’ positions on issues so they can choose candidates that best represent their views and values.”

League of Women Voters of Virginia President Lynn Gordon said the October debate would keep a shining light on democracy by raising awareness of the issues that confront all Virginians, encourage more citizens to become registered voters, and help increase voting participation in Virginia.

“Candidate participation in debates is akin to a job interview. Voters deserve to hear directly from the candidates where they stand on issues that matter most in their lives,” Gordon said.

Kallio pointed out that winning the votes of people age 50+ will be key in the 2012 election. In the 2010 midterm election, voters age 50+ cast nearly six of every 10 votes. A quarter of all ballots cast in November 2010 came from 65+ voters. In 2008, turnout was 69 percent among voters aged 45 to 64 and 72 percent among voters 65 to 74.

AARP Virginia and the League of Women Voters of Virginia have extended Peoples Debate invitations to Republican nominee George Allen and Democrat Tim Kaine. Other candidates who, within 30 days of the event, have registered a minimum of 15 percent voter support in at least one statistically valid poll conducted by news media or another independent organization (free of ties to a political party or candidate) also will be invited to participate.

Media partners for the event are WTVR-TV (CBS) and WCVE-TV (Virginia Public Television). The media partners will distribute the debate to broadcasters statewidein order to make the forum available to voters across Virginia.

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