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Prepare to Vote Jan. 31: AARP Educates You On the Issues

On Jan. 31, Florida Republican voters go to the polls to say who’ll get Florida’s delegates to the GOP national convention in Tampa this August. While Florida Democrats won’t vote in a presidential primary – most observers say it’s virtually certain that the Democratic national convention will nominate President Obama – Florida’s Jan. 31 primary election could play a major role in the outcome of the race for the Republican nomination.

To help older Floridians sort out where candidates stand on issues important to voters 50+, AARP Florida is educating voters on the candidates’ positions – especially on critical pocketbook issues such as protecting and strengthening Social Security and Medicare. AARP is nonpartisan and does not endorse candidates for any election or contribute money to any political-action committee or campaign. AARP does work to educate its 37 million members, including 2.7 million members in Florida, on key issues.

“In October, an AARP Florida poll showed a significant and troubling gap between where some Republican candidates stood on cuts to Social Security and Medicare and where Florida Republican voters stood,” said Jeff Johnson, AARP Florida interim state director.

The poll showed that by huge margins – at least two to one – GOP voters stoutly opposed cuts to future recipients’ Social Security benefits, or cuts to Medicare benefits, as a way to reduce the federal deficit.

Yet much of the political buzz about the GOP primary has centered on ideas for cutting Social Security benefits for future retirees, or reductions to Medicare reimbursements, as a way of lowering the federal government’s operating deficit.

“AARP believes this poll shows a startling disconnect between what Washington and the candidates are thinking about Social Security and Medicare, and what Florida GOP voters want them to do,” Johnson said.

The poll showed that those Florida Republicans likely to vote in the Jan. 31 primary are overwhelmingly 50+, for whom Social Security and Medicare are very important issues. “This is an election in which some of the most critical issues of retirement security will be front and center,” Johnson noted.

“AARP Florida believes it can play an important role by helping voters learn where candidates stand on these critical issues,” Johnson said. “To make sure voters are getting accurate information, we have posted unedited video voters’ guides in which several candidates explain their views on Social Security and Medicare in their own words.”

Johnson also asked Florida voters who are not voting in the GOP Presidential Primary to stay tuned for AARP’s voter-education efforts later in the year, when the association will focus on helping voters get access to important information on state and Congressional candidates and issues in preparation for primary elections in August and general elections in November.

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