AARP Idaho targets voter education

FRIDAY, SEPT. 17, 2010

Group has guides for every legislative race in Idaho

BOISE – AARP Idaho is launching a statewide voter-education effort, complete with voter guides for every legislative race in the state along with statewide and congressional races, meetings and discussions with its members.

Why that matters: The group estimates that 56 percent of Idaho’s votes in November will come from voters age 50 and older, and 30 percent of all ballots will be cast by AARP members.

“The 50-plus in Idaho and across the nation is a voting powerhouse,” said AARP volunteer C.J. Petrovsky, of Eagle. “We’re going to help them get the facts, learn the candidates’ positions on key issues, and raise their voices.”

Petrovsky was among a group of AARP officials and volunteers who gathered on the state Capitol steps Thursday to kick off the effort, which also will include advertising in print, online and on the radio, with the theme “Your right, your decision, your vote.”

“This is the first time ever we’ve done a voter guide for every single race in the state, and the first time the questions came directly from our members,” said Jim Wordelman, state director for AARP in Idaho.

Response from candidates has been strong, he said, with about 100 responding. For those candidates who didn’t respond, AARP is urging its members to continue to ask them where they stand on the issues.

The voter guides for state and legislative races went up online Thursday at, and the congressional guides will be up the first week of October.

For state races, AARP members chose the state budget as their top issue, but the second most important issue is a “conscience” law that Idaho’s Legislature enacted this year. It lets any health care provider refuse to provide end-of-life care that violates the provider’s conscience, and AARP says it threatens Idahoans’ rights to have their living wills and advance-care directives honored.

“A lot of people are worried about the conscience law,” said David Irwin, AARP spokesman. “Our members are looking for whoever they vote for to fix this thing.”

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