Voting from Hospital

My stepson is unexpectedly in the hospital and will be unable to vote. Do American localities make any arrangements to help people in this situation to vote?

Of course, “it depends,” but what can we can we say in general?

In general, yes, you can vote by absentee ballot. In general, you have to mail in the ballot with a postmark no later than the close of polls in your precinct. There are, however, 50 states in the U.S., and in the U.S. system, states are responsible for conducting elections and setting such regulations. Also, in many (most? all?) states, responsibility to physically run elections is delegated by the state to county election boards, so your mileage may vary a lot.

Check with the the Secretary of State’s (or equivalent)* office in your stepson’s state, or with the county election board in his county of residence.

I have sent the Board of Elections an email. We will see, and I will report back.

If you want to let us know which state, we may be able to chime in with details. (My late husband voted by ballot from his hospital bed, in Texas, if that helps any.)

Ohio has a provision for late submissions of absentee ballot requests. You normally have to apply at least three days before, but you can do it until 3:00 PM on election day if you or your minor child are suddenly hospitalized. If the hospital is in your own county, they’ll even send two election workers to the hospital to deliver and collect your ballot.

Gosh, check out the email I got from the Board of Elections.

*Sorry to hear about your stepson. There is a process in order for him to vote. I’ve attached 3 forms that you’d need to complete. The emergency absentee application, that would need to be notarized, a Certification of Authorized Representative assigning someone to get his ballot for him and a Designation of Authorized Representative where he would designate someone to carry his ballot to him.

So whoever is designated would need to come to our office with all three completed forms. They would then go before a court of common pleas judge to approve the application. After that we’d release the ballot to them to take back to the hospital. He would then need to vote on it and have the designee return the ballot to our office by 8:00 PM tonight.

If you have any questions feel free to call or e-mail. If coming you’ll need to call when you get here as the admin building is closed to the public today.

So in a word, forget about it.