Content starts here
AARP AARP States Florida Voters

Getting Florida Voters Ready for 2024 Election


Cheryl Jefferson, 71, of Jacksonville, is as enthusiastic about voting today as when she cast her first ballot more than 50 years ago.

The retired mortgage banker works at the polls on Election Day, nudges her family and friends to vote, and visits high schools to talk to students about the importance of voting when they turn 18.

“Every vote counts,” she says. Noting that women and African Americans had to fight for the right to vote, she adds: “I am a passionate voter because I understand the history.”

Jefferson is working with other AARP volunteers across the state to educate Floridians on how and where to vote in the state primary, on Tuesday, Aug. 20, and the general election, on Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Among the efforts:

  • AARP volunteers are visiting senior centers, churches and community events to educate older voters about the organization’s priorities this election cycle. Those include addressing Social Security’s projected shortfall and providing more support for family caregivers.
  • Volunteers are attending campaign events and meet-and-greets with candidates to learn their views and educate them on those key issues.
  • AARP Florida will host four “Community Conversations with Congressional Candidates” this summer in key U.S. House districts. The forums will be televised and moderated by political reporters. To learn more and find out how to watch, visit

“You just can’t sit home and talk about what it should be, what it could be,” says Jefferson, who also serves on AARP Florida’s Executive Council. “You’ve got to actually get out there and exercise your right to vote.”

Older voters turn out

Older voters in Florida have “more clout” than other age groups, says J. Edwin Benton, a professor of political science and public administration at the University of South Florida and editor of the book Government and Politics in Florida. That’s because older voters are more likely to register to vote—and more likely to turn out—than other age cohorts, he says.

This election will be no different, Benton says, adding that Florida is still considered a swing state. Although more Floridians are registered as Republicans than Democrats, 39 percent to 32 percent, more than a quarter of registered voters don’t affiliate with either party.

“The independent vote determines the outcome of the election,” Benton says.

Zayne Smith, AARP Florida’s director of advocacy, says the goal of the AARP forums and other events will be to press candidates on caregiving and Social Security.

Older voters “are stretched to the limit,” she says. “They want to see politicians address their day-to-day challenges.”

Florida graphic.png
Graphic by Nicolas Rapp

Nationally, AARP is pushing lawmakers to address Social Security’s future solvency and to pass a federal tax credit of up to $5,000 to help offset caregiving-related expenses, such as home care aides, adult day care, home modifications and assistive technology.

In 2021, Florida had 2.7 million family caregivers who provided 2.6 billion hours of care, much of it unpaid, according to AARP research. When it comes to Social Security, AARP research shows that more than 2.1 million Florida residents rely on the program for at least half their income.

Social Security’s trust fund reserves are dwindling; by 2035, it may not have enough money to fully cover benefits, according to a 2024 projection by the Social Security Board of Trustees.

The program “really keeps families afloat,” says Gloria Reinhardt, 80, a retired chief financial officer from Coral Springs and an AARP volunteer leader. She will also be doing her part to turn out voters.

She says members of Congress can fix Social Security if they want to. “I don’t think it’s ... an insurmountable puzzle,” she says. “We know they can come together and get things done.” ■

Ann Hardie spent a decade covering aging issues for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She has written for the Bulletin for 15 years.

More on Voting

Ways to Vote

About AARP Florida
Contact information and more from your state office. Learn what we are doing to champion social change and help you live your best life.