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Advocate Aurora Health prepares for hospitalized voting in a pandemic

Published: Oct. 30, 2020 at 5:15 PM CDT
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MANITOWOC, Wis. (WBAY) - Increased hospitalizations during the pandemic means more people may need help to cast their ballot. Advocate Aurora Health has been preparing to assist voters that can’t be at the polls this year.

“We’re honored to provide this for our patients,” said Chief Nursing Officer Cheryl Stoeckigt Parra, who works at the Aurora Medical Center in Manitowoc County.

Under Wisconsin law, people who are hospitalized are still able to vote.

Advocate Aurora Health has been planning how they’d help in the process, considering the increased hospitalizations during the pandemic.

“The patient themselves will reach out to us and ask us for what’s called an application for an absentee ballot, and then they name their agent,” said Stoeckigt Parra.

A hospitalized person has a specific section to fill out on the application and can request them in the seven days leading up to or on Election Day.

This year, because of the pandemic, the Wisconsin Elections Commission expanded the qualifications of a hospitalized elector to include anyone ordered into quarantine by a doctor.

The voter can choose anyone to be their agent. A photo ID is still required for hospitalized voters, so patients should include a photo ID.

“They fill out this paperwork and then their agent takes this paperwork to the clerk of courts and then we receive it back from the agent, take it back up with the absentee ballot, the ballot is then completed and then it is brought down to their agent to deliver,” said Stoeckigt Parra

At Aurora Health, because of pandemic safety rules, hospital staff will run the forms and ballots between the voter and agent to keep as many people out of the hospital as possible.

Staff will also provide witness signatures as needed on a patient’s ballot.

Stoeckigt Parra says any employee assisting a COVID-positive patient will wear proper PPE and will sanitize pens that are used.

“The election has captured a lot of interest and it’s our duty to serve and to allow that for our patients while they’re here,” said Stoeckigt Parra.

It’s unclear at this point how many patients will use this option but Parra says they wanted to be prepared.

“A little added service to help ease their minds on some things we can alleviate for them,” said Stoeckigt Parra.

To view the application form: CLICK HERE

For more detailed instructions on the hospitalized elector process: CLICK HERE

More information can also be found directly on the Wisconsin Elections Commission website.

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