A hospital bed didn't keep three women from voting in Utah County. They voted by absentee ballot from their rooms in the transitional unit of Utah Valley Regional Medical Center.

Muriel F. Tanner of Provo said, "I always make an effort to get out and vote. This would have been the first time I couldn't have voted."Recreational Therapist Carla Draper called the election office last week to find out the procedure for voting absentee. The women filled out a form that said they were disabled and the election office mailed the ballots.

Helen Hassell and Ellen Y. Allen, both from Orem, have been friends for 50 years and now are roommates in the hospital. Both expressed appreciation for Draper's efforts that provided the opportunity for them to vote.

"People say `my vote doesn't count.' It does," Hassell said. She remembers walking to the polls with her parents as a child in Eureka. "I was taught very early that you don't miss."

The women voted Friday but said their votes would not have been any different if they had gone to the polls Tuesday.

Allen said, "We had made up our minds. Anyone who waits to the last minute to decide who to vote for hasn't done his homework."

People shouldn't wait until election day to get involved, she said. It is important to get out to the mass meeting, to be involved in the selection process. "Get into the primary. Don't wait for election day," Allen said.