US election: woman in labour stops off to vote before going to hospital

Officials in Florida say woman insisted on filling out ballot in person instead of mailing it later

A queue to vote in St Petersburg, Florida
A queue to vote in St Petersburg, Florida, this week. Photograph: Peter Foley/EPA

A pregnant Florida woman didn’t let being in labour prevent her from casting her vote in the US presidential election, refusing to go to the hospital until she had filled out her ballot.

Officials in Orange County said the woman arrived at their polling site with her husband who told them: “Yeah, she’s about to have a baby, but she won’t go to the hospital to have a baby until she votes.”

Karen Briceno Gonzalez, an election worker, told a local news outlet: “I was like, OK, what can I do to facilitate her to vote? Where is she? Where can I go to help?”

She said she rushed outside to give the woman a postal ballot and check her ID. She thought the woman would fill it out later and mail it in before the 3 November deadline, but between some controlled Lamaze breathing the woman said she wanted to vote straight away.

“She said: ‘No, no, no! I need to fill it out right now,’” Gonzalez told Fox 35. “So she filled it out. I gave her an ‘I Voted’ sticker and she was off to the hospital.”

Eileen Deliz, an elections clerk, said the couple never mentioned why the woman had waited until she was in labour to cast her 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 added: “We are very, very busy, but when something like that happens it just makes our day. Every election cycle brings us a great little story.”

Officials said the woman’s husband drove her to an Orlando hospital. They did not release the voter’s name.

The couple were perhaps slightly lucky they weren’t trying to vote in Brooklyn, where queues on Friday morning were long and the weather was miserable.

Marc Triola (@marctriola)

Go Brooklyn! Hundreds in line to vote at 7am in miserable weather. Also go Nets! pic.twitter.com/GnJ9JlVt5v

October 30, 2020
  • Associated Press contributed to the reporting on this story