In today’s segment with is made possible by #AARP, we are joined by Vikki Ortiz, Director of Communications at AARP Illinois.
Despite a very busy time for the AARP team as they are currently implementing a number of ballot measures across the country, Vikki made time for this interview, to remind us all that it is our civic duty and right as an American to exercise our “power for your future.” As long-time reporter and columnist at the Chicago Tribune, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Washington Post and other media companies, before coming to AARP to lead the state office’s media relations, marketing and public relations work, Vikki says she has seen first-hand the positive effects of voting.
“People vote for the candidate who can support their issues such as; preventing cuts to social security, Medicare and lowering costs of prescription drugs,” she explains. “Your vote is your voice!”
When asked about safety issues for voters, especially the 50+ AAPI group, Vikki shares the AARP website – www.aarp.org/election2020 – that contains a state-by-state guide on voting options that are available. She explains that every state has different options, may it be absentee voting, voting by mail or in-person voting. And she underscores the the importance of noting deadlines to request a mail-in ballot and to return the ballot. She says deadlines vary from state to state, as well and these dates are on the website.
Vikki suggests that voters should look for the early voting deadline and have a plan on how they would cast their ballot so it arrives on time. She further notes that not following the deadlines can result to disqualification of the ballot. According to her, the most common mistakes that registered voters have made are submitting late and incomplete ballots.
Incomplete ballots may mean: Signature was not included or ballot was not signed the way the State has it on record (same as your driver license); Additional documentation like photo ID was not included ; Incorrect pen color was used.
Vikki adds that it is also important to make sure that voters are giving enough time for the ballot to arrive. Ballots can be nullified or rejected if returned too late. And thankfully, there’s a way to check whether your ballot was received. Vikki shares that there is a tracking mechanism on AARP’s website that voters can use; or that voters should be conscious and simply check their local county.
Vikki also talks about voting from home as the safest option especially during this election that is happening while there is a global pandemic. She assures voters that as long as they follow all the instructions and deadlines, their vote will be counted properly.
And for those who would still prefer to vote in-person, Vikki reminds everyone to prioritize their safety above all: #votingsafely
- Wear a mask
- Practice social distancing
- Use a hand sanitizer
- Bring your ID as some polling stations may require it
She ends by saying: “Voting gives us a change to control how we can shape our local community. This is a way to have a say in your country!”