Voting while hospitalized: It's possible, but 'it's not simple'

Elections officials are taking many pandemic precautions to keep voters safe, but what can you do if you’re hospitalized and would like to vote?

"It's not simple," said Reid Magney. 

Wisconsin voters can cast a ballot when hospitalized.

"Wisconsin has a system that will allow people who are in the hospital seven days before the election to be able to get a ballot brought to them in the hospital," said Magney.

Interested voters must fill out an application for an absentee ballot and check Box 7 to certify they are hospitalized. The voter must also designate an agent, someone they choose , to pick up and deliver their ballot. If you can’t print off the form, write down the same information by hand.

"The request has to be made in writing, but you don’t have to use that form," said Magney.

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Then the agent can take the form or letter along with their valid ID and a copy of the hospitalized voter’s ID to the voter’s clerk’s office, pick up the voter’s ballot and bring it back to the hospital. It's a complex process, but for some, the only option.

"There are people in the hospital now, especially with COVID, that did not plan this," said Magney. "If they were planning on voting on Election Day, they are going to need some help."

All absentee ballots, including those from hospitalized voters, must be returned to the voter’s municipality by 8 p.m. on election night, Nov. 3.

"You’re allowed to mail it, but nobody should be mailing it back now because it takes at least seven days to make sure it gets there on time," said Magney.

Election officials suggest hospitalized voters ask their agents to return their ballot in-person to guarantee their effort counts -- at the ballot box.

Hospitalized voters will need a witness, like any other absentee voter. An agent can perform both jobs.