SELECT YOUR STATE

 
It's easy to vote from your hospital bed, and it's your right.

Follow the general steps below, outlined on each state-specific page.

Check your voter registration

In most states, you must be registered to vote in order to vote from the hospital.

Request a ballot
Obtain your ballot

In some states, the ballot will be mailed to you. If you're lucky, you may designate someone to pick it up for you at the polling place or election office, or the election office may send someone to the hospital to delivery the ballot. Check your state page for the specific process.

If you need help obtaining a ballot, engage your family members or friends. Alternatively, request to speak to social work or case management and mention Patient Voting. You can always email us at patientvoting@gmail.com and we can help connect you to someone locally. 

Vote!

Fill out the ballot! Some states allow someone to assist you, others state you must do this independently. Some states require a witness to co-sign your ballot. 

Return your ballot

Have a designated person or the election official return the ballot to an election office by the deadline.

This process varies by state-to-state, ranging from: filling out an emergency ballot application, making a request in writing, requesting electronically. Check your state page for the specific process. 

 
As a healthcare provider,

It's our job to care for the patient. The whole patient. You have the potential to help them vote from their hospital bed, if they're interested. Below are some steps that you can take to help your patient vote. 

Tell your patients they have the right to vote
Review the process in your state

The process to vote from a hospital bed is usually just a few steps.

Identify the barriers

Think about which ones the patient will be able to accomplish on their own, or which steps may require friend/family/staff assistance. For example:

  • Printed materials - most patients won't have the ability to print materials while in the hospital. Offer to print off ballot applications for them and provide pens as needed.

  • Transportation - the patient will be unable to leave the hospital. Is there a friend or family member that will be able to pick up and deliver the ballot to the election office? Is there a staff member who can help fax the application to the election office? Some states have restrictions on who can help with which steps. Review the state-specific information. 

  • If you live in a state where the election office sends an employee to help the patient vote, will the employee know how to find the floor or bed where your patient is located?

  • If you're stuck on your floor during your long shift, who else can help in the hospital? We recommend case management, social work, and hospital-based volunteers

Create a Patient Voting chapter

Identify a few other healthcare providers who are passionate about patient advocacy and this project.  You can set up a Patient Voting chapter and give you the support you need.

Most patients don't realize they have the right to vote. Ask them if they're interested in learning more. It's important to respect their refusal, if they want to focus on their health only. 

 
As a family member or friend,

You may be your hospitalized family member's best advocate. If they are interested in voting, you may be the best person to help them. Many family members or friends make several trips home during their hospitalization, which is very helpful for the voting process. Let us help you. 

Tell your family member they have the right to vote

See if they are interested in voting while hospitalized, but respect their decision if they are not interested.

Review the process in your state

The process to vote from a hospital bed is usually just a few steps.

Identify the barriers and what you can bring from home

Think about what things you can help provide for the patient from home:

  • Printed materials - most patients won't have the ability to print materials while in the hospital. Print off ballot applications from our online links and bring them in from home.

  • Transportation - the patient will be unable to leave the hospital. Are you able to pick up and deliver the ballot to the election office? Can you fax the application to the election office? Some states have restrictions on who can help with which steps. Review the state-specific information. 

  • Request help from hospital staff. If your family member would like additional assistance with casting a ballot, request help from case management or social work, or from your medical team.

 
As a recently discharged or soon-to-be discharged patient,

it may still be difficult for you to get physically to the polling place. Many of the state laws that allow for patients to vote from their hospital bed also state that if you cannot physically make it to the polling place, you may still be eligible. This section is for patients who have been discharged home. if you have been discharged to an acute care facility or a long term care facility, scroll down for more information.

If you have yet to be discharged, ask for help.

Part of the process of being discharged helps evaluate what help or assistance you may need at home. This usually includes arranging for visiting nursing, if needed. Ask for help in learning how to vote in your state.  Reach out to patientvoting@gmail.com if there is no representative in your state. 

If already at home, read on your state page

Learn about the process and identify what barriers you may need help with. Ask family and friends to assist you, if you are able. If not, reach out to your county election official or to patientvoting@gmail.com.

 
If you are worried you may become hospitalized,

the most important thing you can do is make sure that you are registered to vote. There are still many states where you must be registered to vote in order to vote by emergency absentee ballot, even though more states are adopting same-day voter registration. 

Register to Vote

Check your voter registration or register to vote here at https://www.vote.org/.  Otherwise, there are links to state-specific voter registration sites on the state pages.

Check out our COVID page HERE
 
If you are the parent of a hospitalized child.

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If you are the resident of a nursing home or acute rehab facility,

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Contact patientvoting@gmail.com for more info

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