Hospitalized patients get the chance to vote

By: Kayla Bremer

Bryan Health is making sure their patients can still cast their ballot, even when they're unable to make it to the voting booth.

Patients are able to vote right from their hospital beds.  It's part of a program started 29 years ago to make sure they aren't forgotten on election day.  Any patient that's a registered voter from Lancaster County is asked every election if they would like the chance to vote.

“I said sure if I have the opportunity,” Christopher Arehart said.  “I didn't even think about that being a possibility.”

Seventeen people at Bryan Health were given absentee ballots.  The election office prepares them and has a police officer bring it to and from the hospital.

“They really feel like every vote does count and they thought that their vote wasn't going to be added onto that and they're just very thankful that it will be,” Lori Lee said.

For some patients and their families who are going through a tough time, being given the chance to have their voice heard can make all the difference.

That's how it is for Don McGuire and his daughter who is hospitalized.  He says at one point they even considered sneaking her out of the hospital so she could vote.  But she has recently become very ill and that became impossible.

“But when she found out yesterday afternoon that she would be able to vote here…well I think that was better for her than any of her medicine that they can give her,” McGuire said.

McGuire says his daughter couldn't be happier to wear her “I voted today” sticker like the rest of her family.

“It's just a status I guess.  She's proud that she could and wants everybody to know it.”

The hospitals are not legally obligated to provide the voting services.  They say they do it for the patients so they can still participate like everyone else.