Audio

Motivated Voters Brave the Rain to Vote in Westcott

By Erin Lyons, BDJ 364.03

Published on November 6, 2018
Voters at Erwin First United Methodist Church

https://soundcloud.com/user-598953354/voters-show-up-early-in-syracuses-westcott-neighborhood

Despite the inclement weather, voters of all ages and backgrounds still showed up to vote in the morning in Syracuse's Westcott neighborhood. Find out what motivated these voters to head to the polls.

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Lyons: It’s pouring rain outside the Erwin First United Methodist Church, but that didn’t stop voters from showing up bright and early.

Channel 9 Producer Allie Mannheimer stopped in to vote this morning before she started her 15-hour shift at the station.

Mannheimer: Doesn’t matter what the weather is, still gotta go to vote. People should, hopefully if they’re paying attention to what’s going on in the news, want to vote, want to make a change.

Lyons: Andy Hassinger says he’s always voted, but that division and violence across the country drove him to the polls today.

Hassinger: I think first we have to direct our attention to the violence that’s happening right now. There really is no difference between one person and another.

Lyons: And like Hassinger, Syracuse born and raised Ray Blackwell says a need for change brought him to the polls too. This voter says it’s important for people to make their voices heard today.

Blackwell: We need some change in Syracuse, we need change in the county, we need change in the state level.

Lyons: Polls are open until nine tonight in Onondaga County, so voters have plenty of time to stop by and cast their vote.

 

Two women sell baked goods to voters inside the entrance to the polling station.

A church group hosted a bake sale for voters on their way out.

Syracuse, N.Y.- It was pouring rain outside the Erwin First United Methodist Church in Syracuse’s Westcott neighborhood, but voters of every age still braved the rain and cast their vote at the polling station. Near the polling station’s entrance, some voters on their way out stopped by a bake sale

hosted by a church group, while a few voters shared what motivated them to vote today.

Andy Hassinger, a retiree who has lived in Syracuse for over 30 years, said he’s an avid voter.

“I vote all the time I can vote,” he said. He identifies as an Independent, but shared that violent events across the country motivated him to cast a ballot today in an effort to make a change with his vote.

“I think first we need to turn our attention to the violence that’s happening right now and the way it’s been unleashed by the current administration,” Hassinger said.

Recent events and controversial rhetoric have moved him.

“We should be coming together and uniting and trying to solve the problems, because ultimately there really is no difference between one person and another,” said Hassinger. “We may look different, but we have the same goals, same loves, and same objectives that each other do. And I think that we need to be united, rather than split apart and kept apart.”

A desire for “change” also brought Ray Blackwell to the polls, despite the inclement weather.

“We need some change in Syracuse, we need some change in the county, we need change in the state level,” said Blackwell.

“I think it’s important to let your voice be heard,” he added, and said he has also encouraged his friends to vote.

Allie Mannheimer, a producer at Channel 9 News in Syracuse, showed up to cast her ballot before heading into work to start her 15-hour shift. She stopped in after walking her dog early in the morning, and said weather should not stop anyone heading out to vote.

“Doesn’t matter what the weather is, still gotta go to vote,” said Mannheimer. She felt it was her “civic duty” to vote today.

“People should, hopefully if they’re paying attention to what’s going on in the news, want to vote, want to make a change,” said Mannheimer.

Two grandparents and their granddaughters speak with election inspectors.

Several voters brought their children or grandchildren with them to the polling station on Euclid Avenue