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Local News

Santa Barbara Cottage Health Volunteers Lend Helping Hand to Voters in Hospital

Volunteers help patients, staff at Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Ynez hospitals to cast their ballots Tuesday

Deborah Barnett and Lisa Martel, both registered nurses at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital’s child birth center, cast their ballots Tuesday with the help of Cottage Health volunteers. Click to view larger
Deborah Barnett and Lisa Martel, both registered nurses at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital’s child birth center, cast their ballots Tuesday with the help of Cottage Health volunteers. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

No one can forecast if a baby arrives early, unpredicted complications from a medical procedure or a heart attack.

And if an unexpected — or planned— medical trip landed someone in the hospital Tuesday, a group of Cottage Health volunteers made sure patients as well as staff casted their votes on election day.

Forty-nine patients and staff members who were unable to travel to their polling locations voted Tuesday afternoon thanks to volunteers.

“I feel fortunate because I was going to drive to my polling location during my break,” said Lisa Martel, a registered nurse at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital’s child birth center. “It’s nice that they offered this to help out.”

Volunteers received ballots from Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital, Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital and Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital.

Volunteers handed out red, white and blue “I voted” stickers, along with further information about California’s 17 ballot propositions.

Patricia Dooley, director of volunteer services for Cottage Health, kept busy with a team of four volunteers who brought ballots to eligible patients and employees.

She also dropped the ballots off at the Santa Barbara County Elections Office.

Dooley said 67 percent of the ballots received were from patients.

A team of Cottage Health volunteers delivered 49 ballots to patients and staff at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital, Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital and Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital. Click to view larger
A team of Cottage Health volunteers delivered 49 ballots to patients and staff at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital, Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital and Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

Dooley even made the drive from the city of Santa Barbara to meet a volunteer to deliver a patient’s ballot whose polling location was in Northern Santa Barbara County.

“We met in the middle near Highway 101 and Highway 154,” Dooley said. “It’s important to us to offer patients and staff the opportunity to exercise their voting privileges while they are in the hospital.”

After receiving a request from Goleta volunteer working at a polling location, Dooley also ensured a new mother in the birth center got to vote.

"I said 'what's her name?'" Dooley said. "Then, I said 'it's all done.'"

In the last election, Dooley helped deliver 25 ballots to the county election office.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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