AARP launches voter ed campaign

CONCORD, NH: When presidential candidates visit New Hampshire, they should be prepared to talk specifics about Medicare, Social Security, long-term care and consumer protections in managed care.

CONCORD, NH: When presidential candidates visit New Hampshire, they should be prepared to talk specifics about Medicare, Social Security, long-term care and consumer protections in managed care.

CONCORD, NH: When presidential candidates visit New Hampshire, they

should be prepared to talk specifics about Medicare, Social Security,

long-term care and consumer protections in managed care.



That was the message AARP/VOTE, the nonpartisan voter education program

of the American Association of Retired Persons, tried to send during a

news conference last Wednesday as it launched the most aggressive voter

education campaign in its 41-year history, the New Hampshire

Presidential Primary Project.



At the conference, AARP unveiled the results of a poll conducted by

national research firm ICR. When asked what key issues were very or

somewhat important to their vote, voters said Medicare (77%), Social

Security (83%), long-term care (77%) and managed care (73%). The poll

was conducted through telephone interviews with a random sample of 489

New Hampshire residents age 18 and over who are registered to vote.



As part of the campaign, AARP/VOTE is holding workshops to educate the

general public about key issues, as well as candidate meetings and

forums.



AARP will also utilize direct mail, radio and newspaper ads and the

Internet, and it will reach out to the media, particularly for

events.



’We’re being much more aggressive and far-reaching than in years past,’

said Molly Daniels, national director of AARP/VOTE, who added that AARP

New Hampshire has 185,000 members. ’Our members are telling us that the

issues they’re interested in haven’t been resolved, and we want to give

them the opportunity to talk to the candidates, ask questions and get

beyond the slogans and soundbites.’



According to recent news reports, strategists in both major political

parties consider older voters to be an important swing in next year’s

election, with that population voting in greater proportion than any

other age group. In 1996, nearly 70%of registered voters age 65 and

older voted, double the rate of those aged 18-24. Approximately 60% of

registered older voters turned out at the polls in New Hampshire.



While Daniels said AARP receives some funding from AARP in Washington,

DC, the majority of the work is being handled by more than 200 New

Hampshire volunteers.



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