This year, on November 3, 2020, Americans will be heading out in droves to vote for the new leader of our country. And seniors are no exception.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the turnout of voters over age 45 has significantly outpaced that of younger Americans during the last ten presidential elections. For example, in 2016, 71 percent of Americans over 65 voted, compared with 46 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds.
Even more importantly, the number of voters who fall into the category of “older” keeps rising. In fact, by 2030, all Baby Boomers will be age 65 or older.
For the candidates, that means that they must do well with the senior vote if they are going to do well in the general election.
Beyond the Presidency
This year, all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, 35 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate, and the office of President of the United States will be up for grabs. Thirteen state and territorial governorships will also be contested – although, we won’t vote for a new governor in New Jersey until 2021.
Top issues run the gamut from the economy to crime, with several topics that are of interest to older adults. Among them are health care, the coronavirus outbreak, social security, and nutrition support.
Why is the Senior Vote so Important?
First, every vote counts in a close election. And right now, it’s a tight race. No matter which side you’re on, your vote will make a difference.
Second, despite older adults being a remarkably diverse population overall, they’re often able to come together to defend common interests by donating money, contacting local officials, and (most importantly) voting.
One of the most critical issues is Social Security. Often considered “untouchable” third-rail issues, Medicare and Social Security are more and more often being threatened. With 53% of married couples and 74% of unmarried persons relying on Social Security for the bulk of their income, many seniors have chosen to take an active role in the political process to protect their interests.
This, of course, does not mean that all seniors vote the same way and vote lockstep with one another. People do not suddenly abandon their lifelong beliefs just because they have reached a certain age. But seniors do take more of an active role in politics than their younger counterparts – and politicians are paying attention.
How to Vote in New Jersey
This November 3rd, voting in New Jersey will primarily take place through mail in ballot. All active registered voters will receive a prepaid, return postage vote-by-mail ballot from their County Clerk. Ballots will be mailed out by October 5.
Voters can choose to:
- Mail in their ballot
- Return their ballot through a secure drop box
- Hand their ballot directly to a poll worker on election day or
- Vote in person
All ballots being returned via mail must be postmarked by November 3rd. Any voter who chooses to cast their vote in person must do so via provisional ballot.
Not sure if you’re registered to vote? Fill out this simple form on Vote America and make your voice heard this November!