Medical Students Help New Voters Sign Up Safely

Geisel students are talking to patients about how to be safe when registering to vote.

Read the full story by Colin McLeish, Geisel '22, published by the Geisel School of Medicine.

The new badge dangles from the white coats of second-year medical students Priscila Cevallos '23 and Amal Cheema '23, offering a timely question, "Ready to vote?" This election year, during a pandemic that puts everyone's health at risk, students at the Geisel School of Medicine are asking patients if they have a plan to keep themselves safe while voting.

The voter-safety efforts began in August when Geisel joined VotER's Healthy Democracy Campaign, a nonpartisan effort to register patients in community clinics and hospital emergency rooms. Ahead of the election, more than 50 medical schools nationwide have partnered with VotER to help ensure that patients can sign up to vote and cast their ballots in a healthy way this November.

"The pandemic has clearly demonstrated that health underlies our ability to pursue life and its activities," says Cheema, who co-leads the VotER initiative alongside Cevallos, with the support of the Geisel student government. "Many people have not felt comfortable pursuing basic errands due to the inherent risks of COVID-19 exposure. Our communities, however, have come together to ensure that basic needs can be met and likewise, that the pandemic will not disenfranchise people of a foundational act woven into the fabric of American life."

For the latest information on Dartmouth's response to the pandemic visit the COVID-19 website.