SYRACUSE, N.Y. (DiA) – As voters parade through the main doors of the Spiritual Renewal Center, Jenifer Breyer directs them down the hallway telling them to turn left at the Wisdom room.
“It’s so sweet,” the volunteer said. “I just love being able to tell people to turn left at the Wisdom room.”
This is only the second year ever that voters will cast their ballots upstairs in this room. Previously people at the Spiritual Renewal Center voted downstairs in the basement of the building. But Breyer said that another program for people with special needs takes place in the downstairs area where the polls originally were. She said the program needed silence and felt that having people vote there was disruptive, especially when there were long lines. So, in 2020 the polling location got moved upstairs to the Wisdom room.
The Spiritual Renewal Center is the main polling place for five districts, said Patrick Neary. The volunteer has worked at the election polls in Syracuse for the past six years and spent a majority of those years volunteering at this location. Neary said it’s a pretty polling site and that there they have around 3,000 people registered to vote here for this election. In the last presidential election around 1,500 people voted at the Spiritual Renewal Center, and for the 2018 midterms around 1,800 people.
Neary got to the Spiritual Renewal Center at 5 a.m. this morning to set up in the Wisdom room. He opened the cases with all the equipment and got everyone logged in. He also made sure the scanning machine was up and running, as well as the poll print – the system that prints out the ballots. There’s a ton of auditing and accounting paperwork that goes on, he said.
A number of voters who entered the room admired how fitting the name of the room was. When Annette and Michael Riposo walked out of the polling area after voting, Michael looked at the sign above the door and chuckled to himself.
“I not only felt wiser but renewed given it was in this room,” Michael said.
Both Annette and Michael have voted at the Spiritual Renewal Center for many years and said it’s a good feeling knowing that they’re doing their part for the community.
Annette said she hopes that after voting today people feel a greater sense of community and know that they have a say in what’s happening around them.
“If people have nothing to say then they’ll have no effect on what’s going on in the world,” Michael said. “I’m sure people have something to say and they should make sure that this is one way they say it. They should be involved in their community by being involved in voting.”