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Our Voices Will Decide the Midterm Elections

How AARP is helping older voters make a difference

Jo Ann Jenkins
Jo Ann Jenkins
Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

The election right around the corner is shaping up to be one of the most complex in recent memory. The pandemic is still lingering and changing our lives. We face an unpredictable economy marked by high inflation, a chaotic stock market and an uncertain job market. The war in Ukraine continues to rage on with no end in sight. And our nation continues to be deeply divided on social and cultural issues.

With all this uncertainty surrounding us, we’ll be choosing 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, 34 U.S. senators, 36 governors and more than 6,000 state legislators. With the Democrats controlling the House by a slim margin and an evenly split Senate, the outcome of this election will determine control of Congress until the 2024 election.

Voters in many states face new laws that dictate how, when and where they can vote, and how those votes will be counted. This could easily cause confusion among voters.

That’s why AARP has launched a series of nonpartisan voter education initiatives under the theme “Voters 50+: Our Voices Decide.”

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The goal of this effort is to make sure voters 50-plus know how to register to vote, where to vote in person, what the rules are for absentee or early voting, and when their voting deadlines are. We have created voter guides for each state, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and overseas voters. Printed guides appeared in the September Bulletin; English and Spanish online versions are being constantly updated as voting laws and regulations change.

You can also sign up for email or text updates and reminders about elections where you live at votingtool.aarp.org.

This election will set the tone on many matters critical to older Americans, so we want to ensure that people know where the candidates stand on issues such as Social Security, Medicare, the cost of prescription drugs, supporting family caregivers and other state-specific matters.

To help inform and educate voters, we’re hosting candidate forums, debates, tele-town halls and virtual forums where you can hear directly from those running for office and have the opportunity to get your questions answered by local, state and federal candidates.

Older voters have long been a major force in elections, voting at higher rates than other age groups. For example, in the last midterm elections, in 2018, 56 percent of voters ages 45 to 59 and 66 percent of voters 60 and older cast ballots, compared with 33 percent of those 18 to 29. We’re doing all we can to make sure that older voters show up at the polls.

While we strongly encourage people to get out and vote for the candidates of their choice, we do not have a political action committee for donating to candidates, we do not endorse or oppose candidates, nor do we contribute to any candidate or political party. Our goal is to help people 50-plus understand where candidates stand on the issues and make informed decisions, as well as to make sure they have every opportunity to vote.

Our voices do decide. At AARP, we want to make sure that decision is an informed one.