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Democracy in Action is an Election Day project of the student journalists of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.Students on assignment represent all the journalism programs at the Newhouse school, including graduates and undergraduates in Broadcast and Digital Journalism; Magazine, Newspaper and Online Journalism, Multimedia, Photography and Design and students in Military programs.

97-year-old voter proves everyone can make a difference

The first Tuesday of November means Election Day and one Marcellus man is proving you’re never too old to make a difference.


Robert Gang grew up on Syracuse’s Northside and over the course of his 97 years he has seen just how drastically the community around him has changed.

“It looks different to me, when I drive in town now, things are different,” said Gang.

For the past 30 years, Gang and his wife have raised their eight children in the Syracuse suburb of Marcellus. A lawyer in his time, Gang believes in the democratic process and the idea that each vote has the potential to make a difference.

“If you don’t vote, you’re voting for the winning candidate, which maybe on the other side of the fence,” Gang said.

And while he says voting is a “democratic duty” he understands why so many people do not go to the polls as vote.

“They get not just frustrated but bored with the fact that they put one in and nothing much happens,” he said.

When voting for a particular candidate, Gang looks for the person who cares about the community rather than his or her own political gain.

“I want somebody that will do things right instead of playing politics,” said Gang.

Aside from the dramatic changes to the community over the years, the way in which people cast ballots has also changed. Specifically, ballots are counted electronically rather than by hand.

The patriarch of 15 grandchildren at 25 great-grandchildren, Gang always tries to lead his family by example including how to be an active participant in democracy.

Democracy in Action in an Election Day project of the student journalists of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.