By Ariana Cobb, Howard University News Service
How are older voters—those age 65 and older—expected to fare in the 2020 presidential election? This is one group who is facing isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, raising concerns about their ability to get to the polls. There is also special concern for African American elders, especially those whose polling locations are in areas with hours-long voting lines.
The U.S Census Bureau reported that older Americans, ages 65 years and older, typically vote at a higher rate than younger citizens, but the 2016 presidential election showed a decline of at least 6% in that demographic. That election left many African American seniors in shock with the election of Donald Trump. This year’s election is more complex than usual, with the pandemic, protests against continued racial injustice, and instances of voter suppression in many Black communities around the country. I spoke to two elders in this oft-overlooked group. Norma Holden, 86, of Willingboro, New Jersey and Ruth Schuler, 76, both of Willingboro, New Jersey. They invited me into their homes to share their stories and opinions on these and other dynamics that are challenging America.
Ms. Norma discussed how she wishes that the government would evaluate how the discussions they make affect people. She is praying for the future and wants the youth to believe that things will be worked out.
Ms. Shuler urges citizens to hold on to democracy. She observes today’s youth protesting similar causes that she did during her time in college.