Encouraging senior citizens to vote

By Ashley Bunton - abunton@civitasmedia.com

An Ohio Hillary Clinton campaign volunteer says senior citizens in Ohio communities may need a little help getting registered to vote for the presidential election.

Jan Clark, a 76-year-old retired nurse, volunteers with the grassroots “Hillary for America” campaign in Springfield, Ohio.

Together with husband Gerry, a 77-year-old retired Lutheran minister, she spends one evening each week placing to calls to Democratic party members registered in Clark County.

Jan and Gerry have been active in election campaigns for more than 15 years. The couple worked on both of Obama’s election campaigns while living in Florida.

“We were fortunate enough to be chosen to have breakfast with the president,” said Jan. “Because we were senior citizens he was especially interested in talking about Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security issues.”

Now Jan and Gerry live closer to their three grown children in Ohio whom Jan says are all big supporters of Hillary Clinton. Not only have they found a new place to call home, but Jan and Gerry have found a new place to help register voters.

At the skilled nursing facility where they live in Springfield, Jan and Gerry have met quite a few senior citizens who needed help getting registered to vote.

“There was a woman who said she hadn’t voted since before her husband died. He had been ill for so long, taking care of him was the center of her life, and she said, ‘I don’t even remember the last time I voted,’” said Jan.

She also encouraged a single woman who said she didn’t drive anymore to get registered. Jan said the woman had “just never voted for whatever reason that might have been.”

Jan and Gerry supplied the registration forms from the Board of Elections. She said the women filled out the forms, along with their names and addresses and signature, and a Democratic party organizer picked up the completed forms and took them to the Board of Elections. From there the senior citizens will be able to vote with an absentee ballot.

She said she thinks the people of her generation are especially interested in voting but the issue for them is transportation.

“They can’t get out to vote so it’s always a problem,” said Jan. But with an absentee ballot, “they can vote in their own room, in their own home, and take time to read the ballot. There’s no rush and they can take their time. I feel our generation is especially interested in what goes on politically in our country. But we have limitations of not being able to get around, maybe not having any family around that can take them around, it’s a real problem for seniors. They just need a little help.”

By Ashley Bunton


Reach Ashley at the Record-Herald (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton

Reach Ashley at the Record-Herald (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton