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Published on October 14, 2020

Prepare for the Unexpected - Make a Voting Plan

Cone Health encourages patients and families to preserve their right to vote by planning for the unexpected.

Every Election Day, people unexpectedly find themselves in the hospital and unable to get to the polls to vote in person. Sometimes it is an emergency, and sometimes it is an extra few days in rehab after a planned surgery. Other times, a loved one has an emergency and needs care that makes it hard for a family member to get to the polls in person. Because of all this, Cone Health encourages all of our patients and their families to preserve their right to vote by planning for the unexpected.

To preserve your right to vote in case of an Election Day emergency, North Carolina provides voters two alternatives:

  • Vote By Mail: Up until October 24, any registered North Carolina voter may request a ballot from their home county’s board of elections. Ballots may be turned in by mail or delivery service with a postmark no later than Election Day, handed in at a One-Stop Early Voting site, or handed in to the county’s board of elections office. All ballots must be witnessed and signed by another party and a near relative may turn the ballot in for the voter.

    A voter may request a mail-in ballot and then vote in person, as long as they don’t also vote by mail. So, even if you don’t plan to vote by mail, a mail-in ballot a great thing to have just in case something comes up and you need to use it.

  • One-Stop Early Voting: If you would like to vote in-person, you may go to one of your home county’s early voting sites, which will be open through October 31. These sites also allow you to change your home address or register to vote during the same trip as voting. Please call or visit the website of your home county’s board of elections for more information on dates, locations, and times. 

Please visit for more information on voter registration, requesting a mail-in ballot, and early voting. On that website, you will find links to the State Board of Elections and to county boards of elections for more information. 

Cone Health is committed to being right here with you and if you do find yourself in the hospital near or on Election Day, we are happy to provide information to you and your family about your potential voting options. For further assistance, we can also connect you with a county “multipartisan assistance team,” which can help with absentee ballot requests and witnessing a ballot. Under North Carolina law, no Cone Health staff can witness or otherwise handle a patient’s ballot.

We all have a chance to make our voices heard this election. Please make a voting plan today to ensure yours is included!