UCLA patients vote from their hospital beds with volunteers' help

A new mom and a first-time voter were among the patients at UCLA Health who, despite being hospitalized, still got to cast their vote on Election Day and not miss out on one of the most dramatic presidential elections in decades.

With the help of hospital volunteers, 52 patients from Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and UCLA Health - Santa Monica Medical Center signed up for an Emergency Vote by Mail ballot.

On Tuesday, Election Day, volunteers delivered the ballots to patients and then dropped off the completed ballots at a polling station. 

“I think it’s a cool program because there are people in the hospital who don’t have the opportunity to go vote at the polls,” said patient Daisy Banuelos, 20, “like me. It’s my first time voting, but I still got to vote.”

UCLA - First-time voter Daisy Banuelos, 20, fills out her voter card on the back of Roxy, a UCLA People-Animal Connection dog, who helped volunteers deliver ballots to patients.

Without the assistance of the hospital, patients would be required to jump through a few hoops to vote. First, they would have had to download the Emergency Vote by Mail application from the voter website; sign it; have someone take it to the Registrar’s Office in Norwalk, California, and return it to the hospital; complete the ballot and finally have someone drop off the completed ballot at a polling place. 

“UCLA Health is happy to offer this assistance in an effort to help patients exercise their right to vote, even from their hospital bed,” said Carey McCarthy, director of the UCLA Health Volunteer Services.

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