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For Florida seniors, politics and pickle ball don’t mix, but issues do

DELRAY BEACH, Florida — In the mixed doubles game going on just before lunch at the Kings Point retirement community here, there were a few lobs and a few more slams, but none of them were political.

Three of the 4 players said they voted for Hillary Clinton, one for Donald Trump, but that appeared to have no bearing on the game at hand.

"A lot of times when you're sitting out, there is conversation on the bench, and it's great conversation," said Ellen Korelitz, one of the players. "Whether it's about a TV show or the world events, and there have been a lot of political conversations on the bench, but once you're on the court, all bets are off."

Polling station at Kings Point in Delray Beach, Fla., on Nov. 8, 2016.
Stephanie Dhue | CNBC
Polling station at Kings Point in Delray Beach, Fla., on Nov. 8, 2016.

As for the issues, most important to the seniors in this community of more than 7,000 homes, the ones heard most on the bench, they were more mixed than one might expect — everything from foreign policy to domestic jobs to basic honesty.

Social Security and Medicare, typically senior issues, were not top of mind. That may be because neither Clinton nor Trump said they intended to make any changes to the programs. In fact it is difficult to know where either stand on reforming entitlement programs at all.

"If you dig in and do some Google searches and dig into some of the things they've said in the past, there is a lot of material online to get that information, but you absolutely had to do your homework," said Korelitz.

The one Trump supporter in the group was not interested in Social Security.

"Because I already have it," said James Darst. "I think he [Trump] addressed the issues that are important to me."

Over at the Kings Point golf course, the line to tee off was already growing by 8 a.m. on Election Day, as was the line at the polling station around the corner in the clubhouse. While the majority of the residents here voted early, others said they like to wait for the excitement of the actual day.

Judy Herman, vice president of the Ladies Golf Club at Kings Point, voted early. She would rather spend her time standing on the greens than standing in line, but she also seemed put off by the nastiness of the campaign.

"I had to consider the personality and the things that had been on the air about Donald Trump and the things that he had said," explained Herman. "I voted for the lesser of the evils basically. I did not care for Hillary. I think she has a lot of baggage also, but I had to."

Pickle ball players on Election Day at the Kings Point community in Delray Beach, Fla.
Stephanie Dhue | CNBC
Pickle ball players on Election Day at the Kings Point community in Delray Beach, Fla.

Herman had trouble taking sides because in her mind neither candidate addressed the issues that are important to her, like Social Security and Medicare.

"I certainly want to hear that it [Social Security] will be here for the future and that it will maintain the standards that we have come to depend on. I'm 73, and I think that a lot of people my age who are still active adults, going out and doing things all day, still depend on some of those programs. Medicare is a big program," she said.

Her husband Dick, vice president of the Men's Golf Club, seemed more concerned about foreign policy than domestic entitlement programs. A veteran of the Air Force who worked in the military for 35 years, he said he wanted to hear more from the candidates about rebuilding the U.S. military in a changing global economy.

"Russia seems to be doing what she feels like. China is moving into a whole new mode. We don't have any naval presence in the China sea, so we're losing respect all over the world," said Dick Herman.

The Hermans have four children and seven grandchildren. Dick said he thinks Social Security is fine now, but he worries about its future and the future of his family.

"I don't think our children are going to be able to retire as well as we did," he said.