Healthy communities powered by an inclusive democracy.
What We Do
Vot-ER integrates voter registration into the health care delivery system. Vot-ER is founded on a core belief that empowered voices and full participation in the democratic process lead to positive health outcomes.
More specifically, Vot-ER connects healthcare institutions and providers with the tools, training, and community to register colleagues and patients to vote, bringing providers and patients together to promote civic engagement and create healthier communities across the United States. Vot-ER views hospitals and community health clinics as central touchpoints in communities – much like schools, DMVs, and libraries – where citizens should consider their civic health as well as their physical and mental health. In addition to providing a range of healthcare-specific resources to hospitals, clinics, and healthcare providers, Vot-ER also develops leaders through its Civic Health Fellowship and builds community through the national Civic Health Month initiative which takes place every August.
Vot-ER has been featured in the New York Times and many other local and national publications. Vot-ER works in over 500 hospitals and clinics and partners with over 200 national partners including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Nurses Association. In 2020, Vot-ER helped over 48,000 patients, healthcare providers, and their colleagues start their journey to get ready to vote.
Dr. Alister Martin is a practicing emergency medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital. Like so many nurses, social workers, medical students, and doctors across America, he goes to work every day knowing he’ll meet people he can’t help through medical care alone. There aren’t prescriptions or procedures to fix homelessness, hunger, illiteracy, joblessness, or violence—the larger forces responsible for many people’s poor health and reliance on emergency rooms and community health centers.
Is there a way medicine can change the big picture? Dr. Martin founded Vot-ER because he believes there’s one simple but powerful step we can take immediately: help patients vote. Healthcare providers have a special opportunity to make a difference. Patients who utilize emergency rooms and community health centers as their primary settings to receive healthcare are often young, uninsured, or people of color: the same groups who vote in low numbers.
Dr. Martin launched Vot-ER in partnership with ideas42, a nonprofit behavioral design firm, and their Nonvoter Innovation Lab. Vot-ER started its journey with a pilot at Massachusetts General Hospital and has now expanded to partner with healthcare professionals and organizations all over the country.
Vot-ER is nonpartisan because we believe in a truly democratic process and aspire towards an American democracy that is inclusive to all. Vot-ER does not support or oppose any political party or candidate for office. Rather, we hope that everyone takes it upon themselves to be politically engaged and informed so that they can vote for those that best represent their interests. Any and all views expressed by individuals or partners are their own and do not constitute the views or position of Vot-ER.