AARP educating senior voters how to safely exercise their right to vote

'Protect Voters 50+' hopes to help people over 50 vote safely on Election Day.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- With the presidential election now less than a month away, AARP is working to educate older adults on how to safely exercise their right to vote amid the pandemic. Tamala Edwards has more in this week's Art of Aging.

AARP launched the initiative 'Protect Voters 50+' to help older adults develop a plan for voting.

"There are a lot of issues that are important to us that are on the ballot - Social Security, Medicare, lowering prescription drug costs," says AARP PA State President Joanne Grossi. "And we want to make sure everyone over the age of 50 knows that they can vote safely."

Deadlines are quickly approaching. You must register to vote by Oct. 19.

"And you have to have applied for an absentee or mail-in ballot by October 27," says Grossi.

Philadelphia City Commissioner Lisa Deeley says, "If you are thinking about voting by mail, we want you to apply right now."

Deeley also says if you are mail-in voting, be sure to read all of the instructions and be very careful not to send in a so-called 'naked' ballot.

"Make sure you use a secrecy envelope because a ballot that comes to us without the secrecy envelope cannot be counted," explains Deeley.

Mail-in ballots can be tracked online. Or, if you want to be extra sure it arrives on time, you can deliver it in person.

"The Pennsylvania Supreme Court made a couple of rulings that are now going to allow satellite offices and drop boxes where people can drop off their mail-in ballot," says Grossi.

Philadelphia has opened satellite voting centers across the city.

"They can request their mail-in ballot in person, they will be able to vote on that ballot and hand it back to election personnel, all in one stop," explains Deeley.

And if you head to the polls on Nov. 3, elections officials will have pandemic safety protocols in place.

"Poll workers will have masks and gloves on. They'll be social distancing - you'll have to stay six feet apart," says Grossi.

However, you decide to vote, Grossi says it's important to develop a plan for doing so. "I really can't encourage people enough not to wait to the last minute. Do it today. It really matters."

AARP has put together voting guides for each state as an additional tool for older adults, visit AARP's voting site and to find out more information.
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