AARP Virginia Unleashes Election Social Media Effort #WW2K

RICHMOND _ Virginia voters will have a chance to publicly ask candidates for office questions and the office-seekers will have the opportunity to answer those questions in a continuous open forum between now and Election Day.

AARP Virginia today launched its 2017 voter engagement campaign, called We Want to Know.  The effort, which will be driven primarily through social media, will give voters across the state an online venue for asking the candidates questions about the issues that matter to them.  All candidates running for public office in Virginia are being asked to answer the questions publicly via Facebook and Twitter.

“We’re using the power of our social media channels to take the voters’ questions straight to the candidates,” said AARP Virginia State Director Jim Dau. “We Want to Know amplifies the voices of Virginia voters so that candidates have to listen – and respond – to their concerns.”

We Want to Know is a grassroots social media effort conducted by AARP volunteers and voters across the state.  AARP volunteers will attend election-related and community events such as candidate town hall meetings, forums, and debates, as well as fairs and festivals.  Using “Flat People” props that are life-sized cutouts of actual AARP volunteers, the advocates will give voters the opportunity to write down their questions for the candidates on a white board, take the voters’ photos posing with the Flat People, and post the pictures and questions on Twitter and Facebook.

Each post will target every certified candidate for the respective position. The candidates will be asked to answer the question by replying to it publicly on social media.  Using the hashtag #WW2K, the questions will be easily located on Facebook and Twitter. AARP Virginia, which has more than one million members across the Commonwealth, will use its considerable communications channels to amplify voters’ posts and candidates’ responses.

“Virginia voters have told us how hard it seems to break through the noise and have their voices heard,” Dau said. “Through We Want to Know, we’re going to help fix that.”

All candidates for public office in Virginia – Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and contested House of Delegates races – will be targeted by the #WW2K effort.

Voters can participate in the effort on their own, without attending a public event where AARP volunteers and the Flat People will be present.

“If a voter asks a question on Facebook or Twitter and uses the hashtag #WW2K while tagging AARP Virginia, we will make sure the candidates get those questions,” Dau said.  Instructions on how to participate are on the AARP Virginia website.

AARP Virginia last month announced the cancellation of the People’s Debate, a statewide televised candidate debate traditionally hosted by AARP Virginia and the League of Women Voters of Virginia.  The 2017 debate has been cancelled because Democratic nominee Ralph Northam, currently the Lieutenant Governor, declined to participate.  The groups will continue to host the People’s Debate in the future for Virginia’s U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races.

AARP Virginia’s Twitter handle is @AARPVa and the Facebook page is located at www.facebook.com/aarpvirginia.

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the nation’s largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

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