LOGAN – Roughly 220,000 Utahns are members of AARP, the nation’s largest non-partisan, non-profit organization for retired Americans. And that organization is taking steps to inform older Utahns about candidate issues that are important to seniors. According to Danny Harris, AARP Utah’s Director of Advocacy, recent polling suggests Utahns have similar concerns as others around the country.
“We have done polling at the national level and we just completed polling here in Utah as well,” Harris explains. “The numbers haven’t changed. Here in Utah, voters 50+ are very interested in health and financial security issues. It is mirrored what we have seen across the country.”
Specifically, Harris says the key issues are preventing cuts to Social Security, how the coronavirus is affecting the health and financial security of Americans aged 50 years old and older, protecting Medicare, and lowering prescription-drug prices.
“It’s important as we look to this election that candidates pay attention to the issues that matter to voters 50+,” Harris adds. “We’ve also done research that shows that in the 2018 election, voters 50+ made up 50% of the voters in Utah. It’s an important voting block but they don’t vote in a block. They vote on issues that are important to them.”
If anyone is interested about where the presidential candidates stand on issues of importance among older voters, AARP interviewed President Donald Trump and Vice President Joe Biden about their positions on a variety of topics. Their answers are available at aarp.org/election2020. AARP has also created an online resource about voting information for Utahns, and – just like in the presidential race – questioned both of Utah’s gubernatorial candidates about their positions on COVID-19, broadband access, and livable communities.
Another hot issue this election year has been vote by mail. In Utah, mail-in voting has been taking place successfully since 2012 and Harris says older Utahns prefer that method. Ballots can be returned as early as Tuesday, Oct. 20.
“(Utahns) feel comfortable that their vote is secure and will count on election day. We expect that 80-90% of our members will vote by mail on election day,” he says. “But we also want to make sure that people feel comfortable knowing what options that they have, that if they don’t want to vote by mail that they know there are options for early in-person voting or voting on election day. It’s important to us that we make sure all those options are available to people so they can cast a ballot and make sure their voice is heard on election day.”
The last day to register to vote is Friday, Oct. 23rd. In Cache County, early voting will take place at the Cache County Events Center from noon to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 26 through Friday, Oct. 30. The voting center will reopen again from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Harris says 2020 has been a particularly challenging year for older Utahns.
“We have been fighting at the Utah state legislature and at the federal level to try and make sure that long-term care facilities and others have the resources they need, that testing is expanded, that there is transparency with what is happening with that testing, that PPE is going where it’s supposed to go. This has been a difficult year.”