The brain trust at the AARP, a non-governmental interest group, is set to engage 50 million members of the so-called grey-haired group of middle class seniors aged 50+ fully expecting 1\3 of ballots cast in the NYC election to come from its members.
AARP to Engage a Half Million Voters on NYC Mayoral & City Council Races for 1st Time
As 54% of Voters Expected to be 50+, Assoc. Launches Citywide Efforts to Get Candidates Talking about Middle-Class Issues Critical to Group
NEW YORK, NY – Voters age 50 and older will determine the next Mayor of New York City as well as who wins every City Council seat on the ballot – and the group has some tough issues on their minds. With that backdrop, AARP is bringing its massive voter engagement approach to the races for the first time, reaching out to the most powerful voting demographic and the candidates to move those issues to the forefront.
The Association has roughly 500,000 members in NYC and, based on a recent analysis, expects a full one-third of all ballots cast to come from an AARP member with more than half of votes coming from a 50+ voter.
“50+ voters are a powerhouse group in New York City elections and they want their kitchen table issues addressed by the candidates asking for their votes,” said Beth Finkel, State Director for AARP New York. “While AARP doesn’t endorse candidates or give money to any campaign or political party, we typically engage voters, candidates, the public, and the media at the state and federal level. This time, because these are such huge local races, our members have been loud and clear they want us involved raising issues important to 50+ voters in the Mayoral and Council races.”
Through a series of town halls, a social media campaign, online outreach, debates, community events and grassroots activism, AARP is focusing on key matters for middle-class 50+ voters: jobs and the economy, housing affordability, sandwich generation issues such as caring for aging parents and older children, as well as how to make NYC a better place to live, work and age.
As part of its non-partisan, non-endorsing voter engagement activities, AARP also will urge the candidates to provide their solutions to the key issues, both at debates and on voters’ guides. The Association also has several surveys fielded with 50+ voters on key issues they care about and want to see candidates address.
AARP also is teaming up with some of the biggest names in NYC politics, the Hispanic Federation, the Asian American Federation, the NAACP, and the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, to host a powerhouse Mayoral primary debate in early August, tackling issues crucial to the 50+ and multicultural voters.
The bigger the election, the greater the turnout for the age group: over the last five years, 68% (307,939 – roughly 26% of the NYC voting electorate in 2009) of AARP members voted in NYC local elections; when a federal race was on the ballot, the participation rate soared to nearly 80% (357,753 – roughly 30% of the NYC electorate in 2009). With the magnitude of the city races this year, AARP fully expects to see a very high percentage of its members hit the pols.