Southold Democrats are urging voters to have "Save Medicare" added as a ballot line in the upcoming November elections.
Art Tillman, chairman of the Southold Democrats, said these national issues affect local seniors and he said his party thinks Southold can send a message to the national politicians. He said many of the nation's current fiscal problems can be traced to Wall Street and big bank "shenanigans," and the Republicans are trying to cut social programs instead of looking at the institutions that caused the problems in the first place.
Democrats are currently petitioning local voters to add the line. They have until Aug. 23 to get 450 signatures and Tillman said they will have all the necessary signatures by then.
"We're close and we're quite sure we can do it and get more signatures than required," Tillman said.
Southold Town Republican Chairman Denis Noncarrow said Republicans are not opposed to saving these programs, but he is also not sure whether adding a line on a local ballot will actually help save Medicare.
"We also want to save Medicare and Social Security, but we think they need to be reworked so they won't go into bankruptcy," Noncarrow said.
Noncarrow was not sure how the additional ballot line in a local election will impact national politics. He said the people who can influence national policy are Congressman Tim Bishop and Senator Charles Schumer, but he said this tactic by the local Democrats may not work.
"Scaring seniors into thinking Republicans are against Medicare is a false way of trying to get people to vote," he said. "It's just not true."
Since becoming the chairman, Tillman said he looked at why the local party had not done well in recent elections and he said it was time to change the party's approach.
"Our Democratic party was too Republican-like. We need to stand on Democratic principles," Tillman said.
The addition of the "Save Medicare" line on the ballot is one such change. Tillman said discussions on national policy does have a place in Southold.
"We will be speaking loudly about national issues in this election," Tillman said.