In this segment of “So Engaged” we are joined by Grace Rustia, Associate Director of AARP Pennsylvania.
With less than 2 weeks to go before the most highly-contested #uselection2020 , Jannelle asks Grace her thoughts on this election, speaking from her experience as an advocate for the community.
And she says she strongly thinks that the Presidential seat is up for grabs and the #AARP polls show that it is a tight race. They have focused on voters who are aged 50 and above because it is more likely for the older generation to vote than the younger ones.
According to AARP “If the candidates want to win this election, they need to address issues that matter most to 50+ voters.”
JSP: Could you share with us trends among 50+ voters? What are their issues and concerns?
Grace: Public opinion surveys have consistently shown that older adults want to know where candidates stand on a range of key issues, among them Medicare, Social Security, the cost of prescription drugs, the economy and long-term care.
JSP: And AARP seems to be doing a fantastic job in taking care of this 50+ community, especially now, with campaigns for voter education and engagement – can you expound on this?
Grace: At AARP, we want 50+ voters to know how to vote safely, whether from home or in-person. We encourage all Americans to ask questions so they understand where the candidates stand on important issues and make their own decisions on Election Day. In fact, we have asked the candidates where they stand on issues like Social Security, Medicare and lowering prescription drug prices, COVID-19 and race relations. You can see their responses at aarp.org/election2020 .
Grace further explains that AARP has a 34-year history of non-partisan voter engagement where they do not endorse nor oppose candidates.
JSP: Speaking of voter education, as Associate Director of AARP Pennsylvania – you have some critical information and deadlines you want to share with our viewers today.
Grace: The last day to register to vote is October 19. Pennsylvanians can register at www.votespa.com. This website offers translation for over 100 languages.
If you plan to vote from home, either through mail-in or absentee ballot, you must request your ballot by October 27. But please don’t wait, request your ballot now.
If you plan to return your ballot by mail, it must be postmarked by November 3rd or turned in to your county election office or other designated location by 8pm on November 3rd. To find out your county election office, go to www.votespa.com and click on the “Find Your County Election Office” icon for a full list.
If you plan to vote in person on election day, AARP encourage Pennsylvania voters to follow CDC guidelines to maintain a safe physical distance from others and wear masks.
We also encourage voters to know where their polling locations are, as many of them may have changed due to COVID-19. Voters should visit www.votespa.com and click on “Voting at a Polling Place” for the most up-to-date information about polling locations.
Grace also clarifies the distinction between Absentee Ballots and Mail-In Ballots – Absentee ballots are for those who plan to be away from the municipality on election day or if you have a disability or illness; you’ll be required to list a reason for your ballot. Mail-in ballots are for any qualified voter – you don’t have to list a reason for requesting this type of ballot.
And for those worried about the efficiency of using mail0in ballots, Grace assures voters in Pennsylvania that that State uses a barcode tracking system on envelopes to prevent fraud. These barcodes are assigned to each specific individual who has requested a mail-in ballot, which prevent duplicate votes and fraud.
In closing, Grace talks about the importance of this election saying, “Every election is important, including this year’s election since there are many important issues on the line. This is our chance to shape this nation’s future and we encourage every voter to make their voices heard by voting.”