AARP state director Brad Anderson says that’s a big swing from 2016 when 49% of voters over the age of 50 voted absentee. “Eight points in Iowa in a state that is purple and where it is going to be close is a very big deal,” Anderson says, “and in addition to that we are going to have a lot of voters who are voting by mail for the first time and so we want to make sure they have the information they need to cast that ballot.”
AARP is sending an absentee ballot request form to the 360,000 Iowans who are AARP members.
“We want to make sure that Iowans have the ability to vote safely and we want them to do that in record numbers, similar to what they did in the primary,” Anderson says.
There was record turn-out in Iowa’s June 2nd primary and 80% of voters chose to vote early with an absentee ballot. Anderson says the group’s poll also gauged which issues are most important to older voters.
“We want to make sure that politicians know that older voters are going to vote this election cycle, they’re likely going to do so in record numbers which means they need to address issues important to older voters,” Anderson says.
Of the “50-plus” Iowa voters surveyed, 82% said Social Security was a critical issue for them and 84% ranked jobs and the economy as “extremely” or “very important” as they make their voting decisions.
“Covid-19 is a very important issue, no doubt. Social Justice is a very important issue, no doubt. We want politicians to pay attention to those issues, but we also want to remind them that the core issues like Social Security and Medicare and lowering the costs of prescription drugs are still a very big deal to 50+ voters.”
According to AARP, 55% of the Iowans who voted in the 2016 presidential election were “50+” and it was even higher in 2018 as 60% of Iowa voters were above the age of 50.