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Voters over age of 65 expected to have huge turnout in Mississippi’s general election

Photo courtesy of AARP Mississippi

Now that the deadline has passed to register to vote in next month’s general election, the question of how many people will actually show up to the polls has come into scope.

While the primary election in August saw one of the worst voter turnouts in recent history, Secretary of State Michael Watson is hoping the November election – headlined by Republican incumbent Tate Reeves and Democratic challenger Brandon Presley vying for the seat of governor – will bring a larger turnout as his office continues to register more voters.

“I am certainly hopeful more Mississippians will show up to vote on Election Day. Having registered 250,000 new voters since 2020, launched our educational Elections 101 campaign, and our My Election Day tool, we have worked to ensure all Mississippians legally entitled to cast a ballot are able to do so,” Watson said. “Voting is easier than ever, so let’s hope Mississippians honor those who fought for such a precious right and take advantage of the opportunity to have their voices heard.”

During the last statewide election in 2019, nearly 885,000 Mississippians voted in the gubernatorial race with around 35% of ballots coming from the elderly population, or those aged 65 and older.

While it is unclear how big of an impact other demographics will have in 2023, Kimberly Campbell with the Mississippi chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) said that the state’s older population is virtually guaranteed to show up to the polls.

“That voting block is usually one of the highest, especially 65 and older, that always gets out to vote,” Campbell, a former state lawmaker, said. “They will hit the polls. They are coming.”

Campbell added that AARP Mississippi has discovered through a recent survey that the topics most important to those 65 and older are healthcare and prescription drug prices.

“We always tell candidates to make sure they are speaking to that demographic and especially with their issues,” Campbell continued. “We recently did a survey to see what things interest our demographic the most and top of mind, which I don’t think is really a surprise to anyone, was access to affordable healthcare and Medicaid expansion. Affordable prescription drug costs were also huge. That’s the big one.”

On average, at least 60 percent of Mississippians 65 and older turn out to vote, according to Campbell. The general election is set for Tuesday, Nov. 7.

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