[Image via orlandoweekly]
Every election cycle has a few memorable stories, and this is one for me: election officials in Florida’s Orange County helped a pregnant Orlando woman in labor cast her ballot in the parking lot before heading to the hospital. The Orlando Sentinel has more:
A pregnant Orange County woman in labor refused to go to the hospital Tuesday afternoon until after she voted in the Presidential election, so elections staff helped her cast her ballot from the office’s parking lot.
Danaë Rivera-Marasco, communications and community outreach coordinator for the Orange County Supervisor of Elections, said the woman was already in labor when she arrived at the Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office, 119 W. Kaley Street.
Elections staff did not identify the woman, but they said she stayed in the car while her husband ran into the office to request her mail-in ballot around 2:30 p.m.
Eileen Deliz, an early voting clerk for the Supervisor of Elections who witnessed the request, said the woman’s husband spoke with customer service representative Karen Briceno, who issued a vote-by-mail ballot for the woman and waited as she filled it out in her car.
Deliz said neither the woman nor her husband mentioned why she waited until going into labor to vote.
“Maybe she wanted to come in-person at one point and that’s why she was waiting, who knows. But she wouldn’t go to the hospital until she voted,” Deliz said.
She said the office’s staff were delighted by the unexpected request.
“We are very, very busy, but when something like that happens it just makes our day,” Deliz said. “It kind of validates what we do [and] the importance of voting. Every election cycle brings us a great little story.”
The woman’s husband drove her to Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital after she cast her ballot, Rivera-Marasco said.
Stories like this are a big reason why I love elections; sure, there are big issues of policy, law and technology involved, but at its root voting is an intensely human experience. Kudos to the county staff who were able to assist the woman – and respect to the new mom who made sure her baby wasn’t the only thing she delivered yesterday. Keep breathing, and stay tuned …