Holyoke Soldiers Home becomes polling center for first time

Early voting is all about options and convenience. Voters are taking advantage of it.

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – For the first time in its 64 year history, the Holyoke Soldiers Home became a polling center on Wednesday.

“I want to…be an example to my brothers, sisters that it’s a good thing,” said Lou Smola. He was the first person ever to cast a ballot at the Holyoke Soldiers Home, conveniently just downstairs from his bedroom! It was all made possible through early voting. Smola continued, “They say, ‘well people don’t want it,’ so that’s why I came first so they see ‘well Lou has gone down there, let’s go.’”

Early voting is all about options and convenience. Voters are taking advantage of it.

“We weren’t really sure what to expect because it was the first time that Massachusetts is doing this, but the first day we saw 149 people come in and then yesterday we doubled that,” said Holyoke City Clerk Brenna Murphy McGee. She said they’ll have to wait for Election Day to see if the early voting meant fewer people voted on Election Day, or more people voted this year altogether.

The polling center at the Holyoke Soldiers Home wasn’t just open to residents of the Soldiers Home. All early voting locations are available to any registered voter of the city, regardless of their precinct.

Diane and Paul Fanelli were some of the first to cast their ballots at the Soldiers Home. “I got an email on the Internet and so I was able to print out all the locations of voting and it was very easy and I think very convenient,” said Diane Fanelli of Holyoke. Her husband, Paul Fanelli, added, “We live a mile from here, so it’s convenient.”

Early voting is offered statewide from October 24 to November 4. Be sure to check with your city or town to find locations and times near you.