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AARP finds 80% of voters who turned out in Finger Lakes primaries were over 50: Where are the young people?

New data shows that Finger Lakes residents who were 50 or older cast 85% of all ballots in August primaries.

The AARP released the data, which showed older residents vastly overrepresented their 53% registration share.


The 50+ accounted for 80% of Finger Lakes residents who voted in all four of the last general elections going back to 2018, compared to 77% statewide, according to the data from the New York State Board of Elections – which is broken out by county.

“There is so much at stake in this fall’s mid-term elections, and it’s clear the 50+ are the dominant voting bloc,” said AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel. “The 50+ – who will be the deciders in next month’s elections – have provided a roadmap for candidates, and they want to count on Social Security and Medicare, lower prescription drug prices, and the ability to receive long-term care at home.” 

In fact, a recent survey of New Yorkers 45 and over found: 

  • 92% say it’s “extremely” or “very important” to have adequate Social Security benefits and 89% to have Medicare benefits available to them in the future; 
  • 80% support requiring pharmaceutical companies to use lower Canadian prices when selling prescription drugs in New York; 
  • 77% would prefer to receive care or help for themselves or a loved one at home – with only 2% preferring a nursing home – though 84% support additional funding for New York’s federally-required Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, the independent eye and advocate for nursing home residents; 
  • 83% support expanding funding for respite care, which provides a break for the unpaid family caregivers who help New Yorkers age at home – with support by 88% of Democrats, 81% of Republicans, and 76% of independents; 
  • 74% support making it easier for property owners to create “in-law” apartments on owner-occupied properties with safeguards for public health, traffic and parking. Such “accessory dwelling units” can provide affordable housing and help caregivers and loved ones stay close, among other benefits; 
  • 80% support a one-time state income tax credit for renovations to existing homes or construction of new homes to help New Yorkers remain in their homes as they age – with 86% of Democrats, 80% of Republicans and 75% of independent voters in support. A bill to create such a tax credit has passed the state legislature and is expected to go to the Governor before the end of the year; 
  • 70% cite increasing rent and 61% increasing property taxes as impacting “a lot” their ability to remain in their home as they age; and
  • The vast majority said they’d be much or somewhat more likely to vote for a candidate who advocates lower property taxes (84%), lower income taxes (85%), increased safety in communities by reducing crime (89%), expanded access to quality, affordable long term care for the elderly – from home care to nursing homes (86%), lower prescription drug prices (88%), and increased access to affordable housing (78%). 

The voter turnout data shows that statewide by party, 62% of all registered Republicans are 50+, while registered Democrats and smaller parties are evenly split between 50+ and younger voters; 39% of registered voters not enrolled in a party (“independents”) are 50 years or older. 

Generally, that pattern holds true in every region and almost every county – except New York City, where the majority of all registered voters and 2/3 of independents are under 50.  

But even in New York City, 2/3 of those who actually cast ballots in all of the last four general elections were 50+. 

And even though the majority of independent voters in all regions are under 50, the 50+ accounted for 78% of independents who actually cast ballots in each of the last four general elections – similar to the percentages among Republicans (82%) and Democrats (74%). 



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