Seniors have historically been reliable voters. They tend to be patriotic citizens and view voting as a duty to their country. According to the American National Election Survey, over the last four decades, the oldest American voters have overall tended to be more conservative, while the youngest have tended to be more liberal.
Now that the 2018 midterm elections are here, let’s take a look at a few of the issues seniors will likely be concerned about.
What’s Important to Senior Voters in 2018 Midterm Elections
Healthcare: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) delivered many benefits to seniors. From free preventative care to lower costs for prescription drugs, seniors may be concerned about the prospect of ACA being overturned. In 2015, 55 million Americans were enrolled in Medicare, the government health care program for people over 65. As rumors about Medicare reform persist, older adults may be more likely to choose candidates who promise to keep seniors’ best healthcare interests in mind.
Social Security: For many older adults, Social Security is their main source of income. They depend on it and on inflation-related adjustments to their monthly benefit. In fact, a 2015 report from the AARP Public Policy Institute revealed that income from Social Security kept more than 15 million American seniors out of poverty. Protecting the Social Security trust fund is always an important voting issue for older adults.
Nutrition support: Older adults are at higher risk for poor nutrition than other age groups. The rate of hunger among seniors 60 and older has increased by 45 percent since 2001. Some experts believe the number of food-insecure seniors might climb to as high as eight million by 2050.
In some cases, this is due to a lack of transportation to the grocery store, while other times it is a limited budget that makes it more difficult to afford healthy food. Programs like Meals on Wheels and Feeding America rely on government funding.
Voting by Absentee Ballot
From travel plans to mobility challenges, not all seniors are able to make it to the polls to vote in person on Election Day. Every state has its own rules and regulations regarding absentee voting. Some states allow any registered voter who prefers to vote by absentee ballot to do so, while others require voters to have what the state considers a “valid reason” for not showing up at the polls.
Older adults can vote via absentee ballot in most states. Visit USA.gov to learn more about absentee voting in your state and how to request an absentee ballot.