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Can You Encourage Patient Families to Vote?

July 21, 2023

In my ideal world, it would be easy for everyone to vote. However, that is not the case. While there can be multiple challenges to the act of voting itself, the first step in getting everyone to vote is to get everyone registered to vote.

We have all seen voter registration drives in different places in our communities, but how about in health care settings? And is there an easier way to do it than setting up a table and hoping that people will stop by to register?

This week, Pediatrics is early releasing an Advocacy Case Study and an accompanying video abstract entitled, “A National Voter Registration Campaign,” that describes a potentially easier way to encourage people in the health care setting to register to vote (10.1542/peds.2022-059501).

In this article, Dr. Juan Junior from Boston Children’s Hospital and colleagues from University of Pennsylvania and the University of California-San Francisco describe a collaboration with an organization called Vot-ER. Vot-ER provided health care staff with a simple device: a badge that staff could wear while at work. The badge not only encourages people to vote, but it also has a QR code that, when scanned, connects the person to the website where they can easily register to vote. Nearly 1,500 pediatric staff from 353 separate institutions ordered badges. They could track nearly 400 people who registered to vote using the QR code, but this is likely an underestimate of people who might have registered to vote after talking to a health care staff member about voting, as they may have registered not using the QR code.

The publication of this case study is timely, as we’re still at least 6 months away from the first primary elections in 2024. The authors noted that it can take several months to get approval from your institution’s leadership.  Look at this article – there are great talking points and resources that you can use if you are interested in implementing this in your practice or institution!

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