As Americans head to the polls in 2020, those who are older may be underrepresented, due to numerous voting obstacles- – from lack of transportation to polling sites to onerous new voter identification requirements. “It may be more difficult for people who no longer drive to get to polls, for example, or they may have trouble walking or standing,” says Joan Whitford, resident of Bethesda Orchard and a Deputy Registrar for St. Louis County Board of Elections, and who has been helping register Bethesda seniors to vote for many years.
Last Fall, voter initiatives lead by Joan Whitford and Carol Strawbridge, a Village North resident and board member of the League of Women Voters of Metro St. Louis, yielded registering more than 100 residents to vote. In many cases, seniors signed up to be on the “Permanently Disabled List” which assures them they will receive an Absentee Ballot in a timely manner prior to all elections. “There are many issues that are important to our seniors, including Medicaid expansion and rising prescription drug costs. Educating our citizens and helping them exercise their right to vote, whether at the polls or Absentee, is a critical first step to addressing these issues,” says Carol Strawbridge.
The Bethesda Group Foundation will sponsor voter education and registration initiatives within Bethesda communities as we gear up for the 2020 elections. “As we approach both local and national elections, an obvious question arises says Joan. “Why do we just talk about it? Let’s do something!”
The last day to register for the March 10 Presidential Primary Election is February 12, and the last day absentee applications will be accepted for this election is February 26.
Learn about ballot issues and update your voter registration through the BHG Foundation, 314-800-1981.