What’s Up Docs? Article

Katrina Marks, PGY2 & Lena C. Van Der List, DO, FAAP

Posted June 10, 2024

As a busy clinic day wraps up, I start to tackle the mountain of paperwork sitting on my desk. Under a pile of school forms, prescription orders, and other various tasks vying for my attention, I spot my primary election sample ballot. Some coworkers comment about how many candidates are on the ballot and how long the polling lines were for the last election, and I overhear others wonder if their vote is even worth the effort. 

Studies have shown that physicians and other healthcare workers are less likely to vote than the general population. This is due to a number of reasons–many of those who didn’t vote cited their busy lives or conflicting work schedules as their main barrier. However, this trend has been improving since the COVID-19 pandemic, which speaks to the growing influence of physicians as expert advisors in an ever-political health landscape. 

As healthcare workers, we see the impact of health inequities in real-time, and voting gives us a voice to advocate for change. In addition to choosing representatives who will help us support patients, elections give us the opportunity to vote directly on issues facing our communities. This includes the state proposition on the upcoming California primary ballot calling for $6 billion to build mental health and substance use treatment facilities. If that’s not enough, the ballot in November will also include propositions to raise the minimum wage and set aside funds to establish a California Pandemic Early Detection and Prevention Institute. 

As trusted leaders of our community, healthcare workers should lead by example and vote in upcoming local and federal elections. You can avoid common pitfalls by registering now, voting early or by mail if you cannot make it on election day, and locating your polling place ahead of time. Organizations like Vot-ER even make free badge buddies with QR codes that you can use to help colleagues and patients register to vote. It’s not too late to make your voice heard! The last day to register to vote for the upcoming primary is Feb. 20th, and the primary election takes place March 5th, 2024. Be sure to do your part to speak up for yourself, your patients, and your communities this year and vote like lives depend on it – because they do.


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  2. California 2024 ballot propositions. Ballotpedia. https://ballotpedia.org/California_2024_ballot_propositions
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