City of Syracuse

First-time Syracuse poll volunteer sees job as vital to democracy

SYRACUSE N.Y. (DiA)In the small Mundy Branch Library hidden away in Syracuse’s Skunk City neighborhood, poll workers eagerly wait for voters on Election Day.

With only a sign in front of the door that directs the voters, the library from the outside is hard to recognize as a polling location. But tucked in the far corner of the library, a door leads you into a room filled with polling stations. 

Four poll workers, including the site manager, wait for voters to come in and cast their ballots. This isn’t the first rodeo working as a poll worker for most of them.

However, for Todd Relyea, an engineer who lives down the street from Mundy, it is only his second day on the job. 

“Everyone goes through a mandatory training session every year in August to get certified or re-certified to learn of any changes to the machines,” said Relyea. “But besides that, it’s not too difficult as long as you know how to work the polling pads, which are basically like iPads.”

For Relyea, volunteering for the Board of Elections goes beyond his belief in politics. 

“Honestly, after Jan. 6, I decided that sitting back wasn’t the best thing to do anymore,” said Relyea. “I guess I see it as my tiny little way of helping defend this democracy.”

Relyea said he hopes to continue to work for the Board of Elections for years to come.

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Todd Relyea (left) helps a voter cast his ballot in the Mundy Branch Library polling location. (c) 2021 Joshua Lee

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In the far right corner of the library, there is the polling location within a small room. (c) 2021 Joshua Lee

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