Ballots for Patients

Paul O’Hanlon, long-time local disability rights attorney, and Alisa Grishman, a local disability advocate, are organizing volunteers to to bring emergency absentee ballots to hospital patients.

Hospital patients who knew in advance that they’d be unable to make it to their polling location due to long-term hospitalization may have arranged to use an absentee ballots. But what about people who were admitted into the hospitals a day or two before the election? It’s impossible to predict when your baby will be born, or when your appendix will burst, or if you’ll be in a car accident and be unable to make it to your polling location on election day.

Ballots for Patients is an initiative started by people with long-term disabilities to help people temporarily disabled and in the hospital still vote. Ballots for Patients collects applications for emergency absentee ballots from patients, files them with the Judge of Elections, and gets the ballots back to the hospitals to be filled out by said patients. It is a non-partisan effort, and nobody will be excluded from their right to vote, regardless of race/ethnicity, religion, gender/sexuality, or political affiliation.

We are looking for volunteers to help with this effort. In particular, we are currently looking for people who can drive or bus applications back and forth between a designated hospital and the Judge of Elections in Downtown Pittsburgh. We are also, looking for two drivers each from Westmoreland and Butler counties to assist patients who’ve been admitted into UPMC East and Passavant Hospital.

All volunteers must be able to attend either one of the training sessions, or else teleconference with the trainer. The training sessions are being offered on November 2 at 6 PM at the Squirrel Hill Public Library or on November 5 at 10 AM at the Carnegie Mellon University Center’s Wright Room.

If you are free to give some of your time to helping people exercise their Constitutional right to vote, please contact

Paul O’Hanlon (412) 480-3160

Alisa Grishman (908) 723-4284

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