Your Vote Counts – Volunteers Assist with Patient Voting at Cottage Health

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At Cottage Health, providing patients with the opportunity to vote in both primary and general elections is an extremely important and much-needed task. Preparing for the  election day requires diligent planning and collaboration with external entities – Santa Barbara County Office of Elections – as well as internal departments. Below are the steps the Cottage Health’s Volunteer Services Department  takes to ensure every patient vote counts.   

  1. Two weeks prior to election day, all nursing directors and managers receive a memo outlining the process of absentee ballots for patients. The memo includes a designation of authorized representative affidavit form for emergency absentee ballot – 2016 sample here
    1. Two days prior to election day, the same audience receives a reminder email.  
  2. Patients who are registered to vote in Santa Barbara County and would like to vote absentee must complete an affidavit. To ensure safety protocols are met, all must adhere to the following procedures: 
    1. The affidavit is placed on a sanitized clipboard with pen.  
    2. The patient must perform proper hand hygiene and complete the affidavit. 
    3. If the patient requires assistance, a member may complete the affidavit, but the patient must sign.   
    4. Once complete, the affidavit is placed in a sheet protector, the clipboard and pen are disinfected and prepared for the next patient.   
    5. Completed affidavits are returned to the volunteer, who is either waiting or can be phoned for pick up.   
  3. Once all patient affidavits are received, the Volunteer Services Department faxes completed forms to the Santa Barbara County Office of Elections. The elections office prepares all ballots and contacts the volunteer services department office to pick them up.
  4. Volunteers deliver patient ballots to the respective department nurse for patient delivery.  
    1. Ballot completion is managed using the same sanitizing sequence as the affidavit.   
  5. Once patients complete the ballots, volunteers are notified to pick up and return to the volunteer services department.   
  6. Completed ballots are checked for signatures, signed by the Director of Volunteer Services and delivered to the elections office for submission. 

Questions about Cottage Health’s patient voting process can be directed to Patricia Dooley, CAVS at or (805) 569-7357.