CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Senior voters 65 and up are heading to the polls this election.
Virginia Keogh is 77 years old. She has been a poll worker since 1972. She started out as a poll worker in New York and after moving to North Carolina she started working the polls in the 80′s. She says this election is important for seniors. She believes these are the issues that are bringing seniors out to cast their ballots.
“We are looking for healthcare,” Keogh said. “We want to make sure Social Security is secure. We want to make sure we still have Medicare.”
Keogh - who is a Democrat - says the status of The Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare is also on the minds of seniors.
“I have COPD,” she said. “And a lot of seniors have underlying health issues diabetes, hypertension arthritis - that’s what keeps me up at night. I just want to make sure the health care is in place for us when we need it.”
According to the US News and World Report, 64% of voters age 65 and older - voted in the 2018 election. That group had the best average. Keogh says while working the polls, she has seen older voters come to the polls.
“By hook or crook,” Keogh said. “We have seen them in wheelchairs, on canes - that tells me that we are involved - that we care and that we need to be out there voting - your vote is your voice.”
Some older voters are heading to the polls for the first time. They told Keogh their reasons for not voting.
“Just felt like it wasn’t important enough for them to come out,” she said. “They feel like this time it is.”
Republican seniors are also coming out to the polls. They have pretty much the same concerns - from the economy to the pandemic.
Jim VanMeerten says this election is important. He says he’s not thrilled with either candidate but is voting for President Donald Trump.
“I don’t think that the present candidates that we have are the best choices we could have for this election,” VanMeerten said. “I’m not sure that either of the two candidates will be able to solve the problems.”
VanMeerten says older voter enthusiasm is mixed.
“I have some friends that are very, very engaged,” he said. “I mean they’re out knocking on doors, putting out flyers, campaign volunteers and things like that. And then I’ve got others that just say, you know, I’m going to vote, keep my mouth shut and stay home.”
70-year-old Independent voter Heidi Braun is concerned about the future of America. She early voted and cast her ballot for Joe Biden.
“It’s a tough one,” Braun said. “It would be nice if they spent enough time - came out with more facts on exactly what they are going to do.”
Senior voters may be on different sides of the political aisles but they all say this election is very important.
“When we say vote like your life depends on it,” Keogh said. “Our lives do depend on it.”
Polls open in North Carolina on Election Day from 6 a.m.-7:30 p.m. and in South Carolina 7 a.m.-7 p.m.