Opinion: Older voters key in determining Ga.’s future

January 5, 2021 Atlanta: Sean Gruttadauria arrives at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights polling place to vote on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021 in downtown Atlanta. Georgia’s long moment in the national spotlight culminated Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, when state voters cast their votes to determine which party would control the U.S. Senate. Georgia voters also voted to elect a member of the state Public Service Commission, which regulates energy and utility rates and issues. The two most expensive Senate races in history saw more than $833 million been spent by the four campaigns and outside groups supporting them, blanketing the airwaves and stuffing mailboxes across the state. Much of that money has come from organizations with no direct connection to Georgia. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

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January 5, 2021 Atlanta: Sean Gruttadauria arrives at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights polling place to vote on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021 in downtown Atlanta. Georgia’s long moment in the national spotlight culminated Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, when state voters cast their votes to determine which party would control the U.S. Senate. Georgia voters also voted to elect a member of the state Public Service Commission, which regulates energy and utility rates and issues. The two most expensive Senate races in history saw more than $833 million been spent by the four campaigns and outside groups supporting them, blanketing the airwaves and stuffing mailboxes across the state. Much of that money has come from organizations with no direct connection to Georgia. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

The writer says “Older voters in Georgia are the key to winning crucial races, and we want results”.

Election day is Tuesday

Voters can find their polling locations and sample ballots online through the state’s My Voter Page at mvp.sos.ga.gov. Precincts are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Voters who requested absentee ballots but didn’t return them in time can instead vote in person. Election workers can cancel absentee ballots and allow voters to use voting touchscreens.

Since 2012, Georgia has gradually transformed from a solid red state into one of our country’s most contested political battlegrounds, and with the midterm elections quickly approaching, it seems like everyone has Georgia on their mind. Georgia’s elevated election status has put a spotlight on our state as Democrats and Republicans have poured money into the Peach State to pay for polling, focus groups, and political consultants.

So far, however, neither party has put together a platform that resonates with our state’s most influential voting bloc.

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Bob Hope

Credit: contributed

Bob Hope

Credit: contributed

Combined ShapeCaption
Bob Hope

Credit: contributed

Credit: contributed

Older voters in Georgia have become increasingly critical in determining the outcome of our state’s elections, and the folks running to be governor and represent us in Washington should take note. According to 2020 election data, out of Georgia’s 7.6 million eligible voters, 33.5% are 45-64 years old, and 19.7% are 65 or older, and in 2020, voters aged 65 to 74 had the highest turnout rate in the nation, a staggering 76%.

The numbers don’t lie. Older voters in Georgia are the key to winning crucial races, and we want results.

In the upcoming midterms, voters will go to the polls to determine who’s sitting in the Governor’s Mansion, and they’ll decide the fate of one of the nation’s most-watched Senate races. Older voters are ready to turn out to influence these elections, but we want candidates who will focus on kitchen table issues like health care, prescription drug prices and Social Security. We have millions of farmers and small businesses in communities like Valdosta, Perry, Carrollton and LaGrange who want assurances that their Social Security is safe, and in cities like Atlanta, folks need leaders ready to tackle the increasing cost of living and rising health care expenses.

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12/14/2020 — Marietta, Georgia — Cobb County resident Stephen Imler, 69, uses an electronic voting machine to cast his ballot during early voting at the Cobb County Elections and Voter Registration Office in Marietta, Monday, December 14, 2020. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

12/14/2020 —  Marietta, Georgia —  Cobb County resident Stephen Imler, 69, uses an electronic voting machine to cast his ballot during early voting at the Cobb County Elections and Voter Registration Office in Marietta, Monday, December 14, 2020.  (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

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12/14/2020 — Marietta, Georgia — Cobb County resident Stephen Imler, 69, uses an electronic voting machine to cast his ballot during early voting at the Cobb County Elections and Voter Registration Office in Marietta, Monday, December 14, 2020. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

However, even though Georgia has shifted from red to purple, some of our elected officials have drifted further towards the extreme wings of their parties. Unfortunately, some members of Congress are far more focused on scoring political points and repeating the same partisan rhetoric that’s gridlocked our nation’s capital when we just want candidates who will address the problems that matter most to us.

If Gov. Brian Kemp, David Perdue, or Stacey Abrams want our support, they need to make everyday issues the focus of their campaigns. The same goes for U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker. What will they do to lower costs for Georgians and put our economy on the right track? How will they help farmers and low-income city workers pay for prescription drugs?

Those are the questions they’ll need to answer if they want the support of older voters in the Peach State.

Bob Hope is president and co-founder of Atlanta-based public relations and marketing firm Hope-Beckham.