November 5, 2013
The voter station at the Catholic Charities center on Front Street isn’t very noteworthy. It’s a plain room with tan walls and brown carpet. There are voter booths in the corner and information packets by the door. But sitting behind the registration desk is someone quite remarkable.
“I am Helen Gaspar. I am 89, I’ll be 90 next May.”
Helen has been working at polling stations in Binghamton’s first ward for more then 50 years. She says this year isn’t that different from any other year.
“We’ve been busy today. It’s not long lines, just a steady stream coming in.”
She takes her responsibilities at the polls seriously and loves to be with people.
Tony Massar grew up going to church with Gaspar. He says she has been at the polls since he started to vote.
“One of the reasons I always come to say hi to Mrs. Gaspar. She’s been an institution, not only in the voting polls, but in the first ward itself. And it is always a pleasure to say hi to her. So she actually makes voting fun."
Gaspar is in her sixth decade as a poll worker. She says it’s a sense of responsibility that keeps her going.
“I like voting. I think it is a privilege to vote. It’s an honor to vote and we should take advantage of it. It is just part of America.”
For many parts of the country, voting can be a dreadful experience. But for the voters of Binghamton’s first ward, Helen Gaspar is helping to make it a little easier.