Election season is in full swing, and often it’s difficult to figure out a candidate’s position on important issues through 60 second sound bites or billboards. That’s why for over 25 years, AARP has provided voter guides that report where the candidates stand – in their own words – on issues of concern to people over 50.
See Also: AARP Blog: Elections 2012
These guides help inform AARP members and the general public on issues such as Medicare, Social Security, financial security, and other crucial topics so that voters can choose the candidates that best represent their individual views and personal values. According to Utah State Director Alan Ormsby, “Voters need to have information that is unaffected by partisan bias to make informed decisions. At AARP we believe that providing accurate candidate information is crucial to the goals of good government and voter engagement.”
Here in Utah, questionnaires have been sent to every candidate running for the Utah Senate or House of Representatives. Every effort is being made to gather responses from each race that Utah’s voter guides are complete; at minimum, contact information will be provided so that voters can learn about the candidates running in their respective districts. Questions regarding the state budget and health care issues were included, both of which are top priorities in the legislature.
At the federal level, AARP will collect and publish public statements that candidates have made in all federal races, which encompasses 435 races for the U.S. House of Representatives, 33 for the U.S. Senate (unlike the House of Representatives, only one-third of Senate seats are contested in each election cycle) and for President of the United States.
During the “You’ve Earned a Say” conversations we’ve held around Utah, one message was consistent and clear; people are frustrated with elected officials and want to see solutions, not partisan bickering. These voter guides are an attempt to make candidates accountable for their positions on programs central to our members’ lives.
We will publish all candidate responses on our website and distribute them to AARP members. In 2010, 1.1 million voters accessed AARP’s online voter guides to help them make decisions on who they wanted to see in office. We hope to top that number this year. Members can access the guides at www.aarp.org/ut, or by calling 1-801-233-2065 to have a printed copy mailed to them.