Stuck in the hospital on Election Day? Staff helps you vote

Even if you were lying in a hospital bed at Hennepin County Medical Center today, you still got the opportunity to vote.

Nursing staff asked all patients who arrived at the hospital within the past 24 hours if they wanted to vote.

Fifteen said yes.

“It’s not huge, but it’s more than ever,” says Sheila Moroney, HCMC’s manager of customer service. “We’ve offered it before, but we’ve never had more than one or two people who want to do it.”

The patients who voted signed a form authorizing a hospital staffer (the “Agent”) to retrieve their ballot from the Hennepin County Government Center or City Hall. The patients’ registrations were verified, and the hospital Agent brought the ballots back to the patients with secrecy envelopes.

The patients filled out their ballots in the privacy of their hospital room, and a witness signed the back of the envelope indicating it was an authentic ballot. The Agent then returned the ballots back to the appropriate location – the Government Center or City Hall, and voila! Voting accomplished, from bed!

In the case of three patients, HCMC was also able to get them registered.

“That’s an extra bonus if they had arrived here unawares,” says Moroney.

“It sounds so minimal, just 15 people and all that effort,” says Moroney. “But it really is a true embodiment of ‘every vote counts.’ It just seemed to really please the patients that they were able to connect and vote.”

Moroney says she thinks most hospitals provide similar Election Day service to voters.

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