Hawaii had the lowest voter turnout among all states in 2012 — less than half (44.5%) of voters casting ballots. Voters age 50-plus went to the polls in greater numbers than any other age group. In 2014 election, 50-plus voters could once again play a deciding role. So, what issues are on the minds of Hawaii’s mature voters?
On the federal side, protecting Social Security is a high priority, especially for residents who feel financially unprepared for retirement. In Hawaii, Social Security makes up 50% or more of income for over half of Hawaii residents age 65 and older, and more than a quarter of older residents rely on Social Security as their only source of income.
When “entitlement reform” and Social Security have become bargaining chips in Washington, D.C., voters agree there should be a separate debate about the future of the program — that focuses on its major role in providing financial security in retirement and strengthening the system for future generations.
Another is Medicare, which provides guaranteed affordable health coverage for more than 217,000 beneficiaries in Hawaii alone. The program faces a number of challenges in the coming years due to rising health care costs and changing demographics. AARP believes stabilizing the system for future generations and keeping promises to seniors with responsible, commonsense solutions will improve care and reduce costs. For example, better use of information technology could promote care coordination, reduce medical errors and ensure patients are getting the care they need.
In state issues, voters are interested in candidates’ views supporting family caregivers. They want to know candidates support laws that call for hospitals to recognize and train family caregivers when loved ones are hospitalized. In light of legislation, broadening the state’s Kupuna Care program to include Medicaid recipients, voters want to know if candidates would expand access to services provided at home and in the community — including residents not eligible for Medicaid.
The months leading to November 4 election, AARP Hawaii sponsors a series of federal and state issues forums to help residents make informed decisions as they vote. Sessions will include briefing on the future of Social Security and updates on AARP’s priority state legislative issues related to caregiving and long-term care. Learn more about at aarp.org/hi.
AARP informs its members and the general public about candidates’ position on issues so they can choose candidates that best represent their views and values. Over 28 years, non-partisan voter education has been part of AARP’s mission to help Americans. AARP does not endorse candidates, have a political action committee, or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. Visit aarp.org/yourvote.