AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than sixty years. On behalf of our 1.5 million members and all older Ohioans statewide, we appreciate the demonstrated leadership and significant, bipartisan response to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the ongoing efforts required as we move forward. As our Ohio leadership considers the next steps to address the various facets of this public health emergency, we urge them to continue to be especially mindful of older adults, who are most at risk from this disease.
For nearly 40 years, the turnout of voters over age 45 has significantly outpaced that of younger Americans. In the 2016 presidential election, for example, 71 percent of Americans over 65 voted, compared with 46 percent among 18- to 29-year-olds, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
People over 65 continue to show up at the polls far more than any other age group. With Ohio’s Primary Election being postponed, AARP Ohio has sent a letter to Governor Mike DeWine, Speaker of the House Larry Householder and Senate President Larry Obhof and have asked that immediate actions related to the Ohio Primary focus on access to voting while ensuring health protection to those most vulnerable to the COVID-19 illness.
AARP Ohio has recommended the following to Governor DeWine, Speaker Householder and Senate President Obhof as legislators meet to discuss Ohio’s Primary Election:
- Full transparency of the new guidelines, dates, and measures to vote in the 2020 Ohio Primary.
- Increase access to absentee voting in light of the state and the federal government look to expand social distancing requirements.
- Consider emergency measures that would allow more Ohioans to vote by mail (especially for those in long-term care centers, medical facilities, or quarantined due to the virus).
- Address the inability for Ohioans to vote in person early due to social distancing guidelines.
- All Ohio voters are promptly mailed clear communications about the new voter guidelines, once determined.
- Assure voters that have already voted that their ballots count.
As a state and nation, we are facing significant challenges. Americans of all ages are looking to elected officials for bold and visionary leadership.
We look forward to working with Governor DeWine, Speaker Householder and Senate President Obhof to address how the largest voting bloc in our population, the 50+ voter, can continue to have a safe and accurate way to participate in the election process during this unprecedented time.