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Sticking Point: I Voted

by Countable | 11.8.17

Yesterday was Election Day across the country, which meant many ballots were cast and many "I Voted" stickers were stuck.

Did you wear yours as a badge of honor? Stick it to a suffragette’s grave? Or did you vote in Stamford, Connecticut, and receive no sticker at all?

I Sued

In 2004, a Stamford poll worker placed an "I Voted" sticker on the lapel of Robert Bonoff’s faux suede jacket. When Bonoff removed the sticker, the adhesive left behind a mark — so he filed suit against the city for the price of the jacket: $106.

"As a result," the local paper explained, “Stamford registrars halted the handing out of the stickers at the polls.”

For last year’s presidential election, Women on Watch (WoW), a local grassroots organization, raised the funds to purchase 50,000 stickers and distributed them at polling locations across Stamford.

"It was a lot of work and a lot of driving, but there was a lot of positive feedback," WoW member Maureen Gilfeather told the Stamford Advocate. She said the group was “fully expecting that if it went well, the registrar’s office would pick it up and do it again this year.”

Those expectations were not met. Despite WoW’s offer to raise the funds to pay for 1,000 stickers themselves, the registrar’s office was not receptive.

"We were told we could purchase the stickers and distribute them ourselves, but that the registrar’s office and its workers would not be involved," Gilfeather said.

In a letter to the Stamford Advocate, Gilfeather said the situation has left her baffled.

"All our neighboring cities and towns do this. Scholarly research has found that ‘I Voted’ stickers increase turnout and engender community pride. We are puzzled as to why Stamford’s registrars are so resistant to this small but meaningful acknowledgment of people exercising their franchise."

I Honored

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul cast their ballots yesterday, earned their "I Voted" stickers, then sojourned to Mount Hope Cemetery to place their stickers at the gravesite of suffragette leader Susan B. Anthony.

This year marks the centennial of women’s suffrage in New York State; in recent years, women have left flowers and thank yous at Anthony’s grave. It’s also become a tradition to place "I Voted" stickers on – and around – the suffragette’s tombstone.

Rochester Public Media outlet WXXI noted that while the gravesite wasn’t as hectic as last year’s election – which saw Hillary Clinton on the ballot – a few families made the pilgrimage this year, including Sarah Steele and her 2-year-old daughter Lilly.

"To think that just 100 years ago women were denied that right to vote is kind of heartbreaking," Steele said during her first Election Day trip to the site. "But I’m also super grateful to share that with my daughters and let them know that worldwide there are still lots of people who are discriminated [against] based on gender."

The City of Rochester asked voters not to place stickers directly on the tombstone to help preserve it. "But of course," WXXI wrote, “a few defied that recommendation. As that old saying goes, well-behaved women seldom make history.”

I Marched

In honor of the above-mentioned 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New York, voters in the Empire State received special "I Voted" stickers at the polls this year. Women were granted the right to vote in New York on November 6, 1917—three years before it expanded nationwide.

The unique "I Voted" sticker features Rosalie Jones holding a megaphone that blasts “I VOTED!” As NBC News explained, Jones was a “a suffragist who led a 150 mile-long march from New York City to Albany in December 1912 with a petition that earned the governor-elect's support for the movement.”

I Researched

When and where the stickers first appeared remains a bit of a mystery, though it’s almost unanimously agreed they entered Americans’ lapels in the early 1980s. The Phoenix Association of Realtors says they invented the "I Voted Today" sticker in 1985 and the National Campaign Supply claims they began selling the stickers a year later.

However, as Time Magazine reported, "an Oct. 29, 1982, Miami Herald article may contain the earliest mention of such a sticker, in a discussion of how small businesses in Fort Lauderdale were offering discounts to customers wearing ‘I Voted’ stickers" on Election Day.

Don’t want to wait until Election Day 2018 for your "I Voted" sticker? Head over to intab.net and buy your own anytime: a pack of 1,008 will cost you $7.95.

Oh, and if you’re wondering why we vote on a Tuesday in November, check out our video:

Did you wear your "I Voted" sticker as a badge of pride? Did the adhesive ruin your suede jacket? Did you nab one of the special suffragette stickers? And did you get any (technically illegal) freebies for displaying your sticker? Share your “I Voted” experiences below.

— Josh Herman

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(Photo Credit: FreeTransform / iStockphoto)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(9)
  • DrCindyBean
    11/08/2017
    ···

    So, tRUmp lost yesterday and blue wave started. Well actually, Trump lost in 2016 also. ‘We the people’ chose Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million more votes. We need to remember that. ‘We the people’ did NOT choose the creep in the WH nor his agenda. Not yesterday, nor in 2016.

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  • John
    11/08/2017
    ···

    It is an Honor to be a Citizen of a Country which holds Free and Fair elections. As a Citizen, you should take this honor seriously and make it your Duty to Vote on Election Day. The stickers are nice, but the Votes are what Matters! Rock the Vote, Folks...

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  • Freda
    11/08/2017
    ···

    I voted and I wore my sticker proudly. I did not sue

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  • Cindylen
    11/08/2017
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    I voted yesterday because...... I hadn’t voted in several decades, just allowing the governments to do what they wanted, not expecting them to affect me adversely. Then last year’s presidential campaign came up. trump seemed too dangerous a character to be in any position of authority. And Pence was denying the citizens of Indiana civil rights, I believe that too many in the current federal government want corporate leaders to have too much money and the ability rule over the citizens of the nation, to deny them human decency in wages and working conditions while poisoning the environment. We need policies and people who ar about a government that is for, by, and of the people. Anything less is corrupt and dangerous.

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  • NoHedges
    11/09/2017
    ···

    Any one else else notice the rapid fire pace Congress is passing legislation at? Makes it really easy to spot red and blue wolves when they’re in a panic. Republican Party must be seriously concerned of the looming midterm elections. They aren’t even trying to appear to act in the best interest of the public, They have resorted to simply throwing the 🍝 on the wall to see what sticks. We keep this up, and in 14 mo and most of the Republican Congress will be voted out followed by the Senate The Republicans, quite literally, “Blue-up” their party.

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  • RadicalModerate
    11/08/2017
    ···

    Every race had one candidate in my district.

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  • Stacy
    11/09/2017
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    I proudly display my sticker every time I vote.

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  • James
    11/08/2017
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    I put mine on myself & wore it with pride & honor

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