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Patient Voting

A program of Vot-ER

We are a non-partisan organization aiming to increase voter turnout among registered voters who are unexpectedly hospitalized in the days and weeks prior to elections. 

In most states, patients are able to vote from their hospital bed through Emergency Absentee Ballots. We are creating a nation-wide network of healthcare workers and non-medical individuals dedicated to sharing this information and helping patients vote.

We gather information about emergency voting processes from state websites, state code of law, and phone calls with board of elections officials. Always clarify policies with your local board of elections or county clerk.

***State specific information last updated November 2023.

How Does Patient Voting Work?

Patient Voting helps patients vote by using an Emergency Absentee Ballot. An Emergency Absentee Ballot is available in most states, but few people have heard of it.

Most people are familiar with regular absentee ballots, which are intended for people (members of the military, college students) who know ahead of time that they will not be able to make it to the polls on Election Day. When patients are unexpectedly hospitalized, they likely did not make arrangements to vote by regular absentee ballot. Emergency Absentee Ballots are used when a registered voter realizes that they will be unable to make it to the polls, but it is too late to apply for regular absentee ballots.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, "Requirements to qualify for an emergency ballot vary, but the most common reason that states permit a voter to use this option is due to a medical emergency such as unforeseen illness, confinement to a medical facility, disabilities or accidents resulting in injury."

There are different deadlines and processes, depending on the state. Check out the individual state pages for more information on the Patient Voting process in your state. 

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Patient Voting In Action

Patients voting from their hospital bed at Lenox Hill Hospital via Patient Voting partner organization Northwell Health Voting. Shared with patient permission.


"Doctors today don’t necessarily have to be stacking gurneys in the streets, but we do have to recognize that the health of the community is part of our medical mission. Civic engagement is integral to that. When our patients ask what they can do to improve their health, in addition to sunscreen, exercise and five servings of fruits and vegetables, we should advise voting.

This is one prescription that doesn’t require prior authorization from the insurance company."


—  Dr. Ofri, New York Times

Want to represent your state or hospital? 

We need doctors, nursing, social workers, physical therapists, case management, and volunteers. If you work in a hospital or health care facility, we need you.

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