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The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Voting Over 50

Social Security and Medicaid sum it up. Long-term care is one of the key issues in this election. It’s now of elevated importance to voters over 50. Even though you may not be there yet, it might be just as important to you after reading this.

For seniors, Obama versus Romney is not their first rodeo, but it may be the most significant of their time.

“We don't know what the future--you know we don't have a very long future and whether our money will last and so forth,” said Illinois senior Shirley Ingold.

Voters who are over 50, like Ingold, not only register in greater numbers. They're twice as likely to cast their ballots.

“It is typical every four years with a big presidential election. We always get an influx of registrations,” said Sangamon County Director of Elections Stacey Kern.

This year the numbers aren't matching up to what we saw in 2008. In Sangamon County for example more than 138,000 voters registered back then. This year there are almost 8,000 less. The county doesn’t track voters by age, but historically seniors are the most loyal group of voters come election day.

“It does mean a lot to me to vote," Ingold said. "I have got awful discouraged with the length of the turmoil and so forth that we had, but I'll still vote.”

Ingold thinks other voters over 50 may feel too discouraged to vote. But with major changes to both Medicaid and social security likely, it may not be in their best interest.

Already seniors receiving Medicare make up about 15 percent of those getting federal benefits. That number will likely go up as boomers age.      

“Every long-term care facility in this country has the ability to have everyone vote,” said Becky Haldorson, President of the Illinois Pioneer Coalition.

Nursing homes are no longer just a place for the dying. Baby boomers are already making their way in. For the next two days, the Culture Change Summit is being held at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield. It will address the changing needs of nursing home residents.

“They're starting to show up at our doors in their mid to late 60's even, so it's really important that we make sure that their rights are met and more than that they're demanding that it's different for them,” said Haldorson.

Expect to see more voter registration drives pop up at places like nursing homes to meet the growing demand of seniors who live longer and want to continue making their votes count.


 
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