Are Elderly Voters Disadvantaged by Caucuses?
According to an InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion Research poll conducted on 02.28.08, people who are 65 and over are 26.1 percent of Texas Democratic Primary voters.
The question that needs to be answered by Senator West’s committee is whether elderly voters also constitute 26.1 percent of caucus goers. If they do not, then we can conclude that there are significant barriers to them attending caucuses that many of them are unable to overcome. Elderly voters can vote by mail or during early voting during the primary, but in order to participate in the caucus, they have to appear in person at 7:15pm on a Tuesday night. This presents insurmountable obstacles for many older voters, who may not drive at night and who may have health issues that prevent them from attending caucuses. Many people older than 85 were part of “the greatest generation”. We need a system that ensures that their votes count equally.
According to a 2003 report by the Texas Department on Aging:
■ Over 2.7 million Texans are age 60 or older.
■ Older Texans are relatively young; an estimated 66 percent of the older population is younger than 75.
■ 34 percent of the older population is 75 or older, or 918,000 people.
■ Texans 60-plus are projected to total 8.1 million by 2040, a 193 percent increase from 2000. By 2040, the 60-plus population is projected to comprise 23 percent of the total Texas population.
■ The 60-plus population will itself grow older. In 2000, the 85-plus population totaled over 237,000; by 2040, this population is projected to reach about 831,000, a 249.4 percent increase.