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AARP Campaign: Getting Seniors to Vote
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“50+ Americans are the nation’s most powerful voting bloc — and it’s important we stay that way.”

Barry Gold, AARP Nevada, Director of Government Relations
Barry Gold, AARP Nevada, Director of Government Relations, talks to members about voting at the Sierra View Library in Reno.

AARP Nevada has launched a voter engagement campaign to get people 50-plus to vote in this years elections. “Be the Difference. Vote” is a campaign to inform AARP members and 50-plus voters about the importance of federal and state issues. The campaign is also designed to compel candidates and elected officials to pay greater attention to the concerns of those 50-plus.

Barry Gold, AARP Nevada, Director of Government Relations, says 50-plus voters decided the 2016 presidential election, with 90.5% of registered voters aged 50-plus participating. “The power of older voters is real, but many don’t vote in most midterm elections,” he said. During the recent primary election only 22.87% of active Nevada voters cast ballots, a total of 329,863 votes of the 1,439,953 registered voters. “We want to compel candidates to address our issues,” Gold told AARP Nevada members at a recent gathering at the Sierra View Library, in Reno.

AARP is interested in Medicare, Social Security, prescription drugs, caregiving and Medicaid, all issues that affect senior voters. To stimulate voter participation in this years November 6th General Election, AARP will provide voters with an online tool featuring voting information, AARP position on issues, and links to candidate websites to provide an action opportunity. AARP state offices will also invite candidates to speak directly with voters, make available video voter guides featuring candidate interviews, sponsor candidate debates/forums, and invite candidates to tele-town halls.

Position on Question 3

In addition to issues impacting 50plus voters nationally, AARP Nevada has taken a stand on ballot initiative Question 3. Gold says Question 3 would dismantle Nevada’s existing, regulated electricity system giving the Legislature until July 1, 2023 to pass laws establishing a new, deregulated system. “NV Energy would cease to exist as an energy provider in Nevada, and would be forced to sell its power plants and cancel long-term energy agreements.”

At the request of the Governor’s Committee on Energy Choice, the Public Utility Commission of Nevada (PUCN) conducted an investigation into the potential effects of Question 3. According to AARP Nevada, the PUCN report concluded that Question 3 would:

  1. Increase the average monthly electric bills and expose Nevada ratepayers to market volatility.
  2. Leave Nevada consumers liable for billions in stranded asset costs.
  3. Cost $100 million in new start up costs and another $45 million annually in new operations and maintenance costs.
  4. Negatively affect net metering and slow down growth in the rooftop solar and renewable energy market.

Gold said, “Nevada’s average electricity rates are already lower than rates in all 14 deregulated states,” according to 2016 annual rate data provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

AARP Nevada’s campaign favors boosting member and 50plus voter turnout to get candidates to address issues, in addition to a Question 3 defeat at the ballot box.