The national election eight days from today will affect many aspects of our society. And once again, health care is front and center. Those elected will face a full plate of new and ongoing health care issues, including providing additional financial support for struggling hospitals and health systems during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Candidates for every level of office – from the presidency to Congress to state and local governments – offer different prescriptions and policies for how our system of care should work. Nov. 3 is your last chance to have a final say in who gets to make the important decisions affecting our hospitals, health systems and our continued ability to deliver quality patient care.

Our right and duty to vote is too important to take for granted. That’s why the AHA’s We Care, We Vote campaign has been active throughout the year, providing tools and resources to educate and encourage full participation in our vital democratic process.

As part of those efforts, last month we shared a digital toolkit that includes sample leadership messages and newsletter articles, downloadable and customizable posters, as well as graphics, including Zoom backgrounds and logos. And if you haven’t checked out our video with hospital leaders discussing the importance of voting, please do.

In addition, we have been featuring examples of what hospitals and health systems are doing in their own communities to encourage people to vote. For example, Providence, serving six Western states, attaches voter registration cards to patient visit summaries to aid tens of thousands of patients in registering. Michigan-based Trinity Health features data and narrative messaging related to the value and importance of advancing policy change. And my organization, Saint Luke’s Health System in Kansas City, Mo., encourages all of our employees to vote by providing voter registration information, election dates and polling places, then making sure they have time to complete the process and make their voice heard.

While Nov. 3 is officially Election Day, remember that it’s most likely not your only option as mail-in and advance voting has already reached record numbers around the country.

There are
several sources of help to check your registration status, register to vote (if still available), find your polling location, and even get your personal ballot information.

Just as muscles will atrophy through disuse, so too can a democracy if citizens don’t exercise their precious right to vote.

You have the power to make a difference. Your voice and your vote matter.

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