Every election, Georgians are faced with both a task and prize: Do your civic responsibility and be awarded a glossy sign of democracy, the famous “I’m a Georgia Voter” sticker.
You know the drill. Show up, show out and get your sticker. Proudly display that sticker to show others that you care, and they should too.
Stickers are so ingrained in voting protocol that some people vote specifically with the added sticker in mind and are upset if they can’t receive one. They then must to the internet to obtain their own. A quick search for “voting sticker” on Amazon yields various designs of stickers from each state. Some stickers from previous elections are even auctioned on Ebay. One sticker from the 2016 presidential election is selling for upwards of $25.
In a review on Amazon, a man who purchased the stickers for his wife, wrote that he was update his wife’s mail-in ballot did not include a sticker.
“My wife, having grown up in a state where voting in person meant getting a sticker, has constantly lamented the fact that our current mail in ballots do not come with the ‘I Voted’ sticker she is so fond of wearing. After having heard these complaints so many times, I bought this roll of stickers which arrived just in time to award one to my wife as she finished her mail in ballot. She cried.”
While not all of us would cry at the sight of a sticker, appreciation for the “I’m a Georgia Voter” sticker can be seen through the sheer number of stickers spread across campus, displayed on students’ jackets, accessories and social media feeds.
With the internet, voters are able to flex their involvement not only in person, but online.
Ameryah Mays wore her “I voted” sticker on her jacket to encourage others to participate in early voting. She said that the sticker doesn’t matter to her too much and she’s mostly wearing it for other people. Even if these people don’t get a chance to see her in person, they can still see her posts on social media.
“I voted today,” Mays said, motiong to her sticker. “And even if they didn’t see me in person, they’ll see [my post].”
Many of the students The Signal spoke with said they were wearing their voting stickers to encourage others, but some don’t believe their motives are purely altruistic.
University of California Berkeley economics professor and author of “Voting to Tell Others,” Stefano DellaVigna, found that the sticker does improve voter turnout, but it’s not just the sticker — it’s the social pressure behind it.
“Such individuals are motivated to vote (in part) because they anticipate that others will ask if they did,” DellaVigna said. “If they vote, they can advertise their ‘good behavior’ when asked.”
Voting during our country’s earlier elections was far more public than it is today. People put on their best democratic attire and very publically cast their physical ballot, showing off their social responsibility.
Today, with mail-in ballots and voting at the closest church in the middle of nowhere, how do we advertise our “good behavior”? You won’t have to look far. It’s all over your Instagram and Snapchat — the classic #IVoted hashtag. With the sticker, people are able to post a selfie while boasting their commitment to country.
And while many clamor over the prized sticker, some counties have dropped the sticker altogether. California’s Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters did away with the sticker in 2012 to save money. Spokeswoman Elma Rosas said each sticker cost 15 cents and that by discontinuing the stickers, the county saved $90,750.
Chicago Board of Election spokesman Jim Allen said they discontinued the sticker because they became litter too quickly.
“You know why? Because fewer and fewer proprietors wanted to let us use their facilities as polling places because people would walk away and stick the sticker on the wall,” Allen said.
Uproar from the lack of stickers was so large, “#stickergate” was a trending hashtag on Twitter. This uproar caused the introduction of the voting wristband, which many other states have adopted today.
And while you might be able to quite literally better flex your voting wristband, there’s something indescribable about the little orange peach sticker, poking into your next #IVoted selfie.
Do you ever grow tired of the traditional #IVoted selfie? Follow this guide and fear no more. Voting is responsible, cool and sexy! So c’mon, show us what you’ve got.
Put it on your phone – Remind your followers of good old-fashioned democracy after every mirror selfie.
Put it on your computer – Let everyone in the library know you’re informed. Type extra loud and draw attention to your right to a free and open internet. You’ve earned it.
Put it on your headphones – Encourage others to vote with the added bass of Mo Bamba.
On your water bottle – Checks and balances aren’t just for your water intake.
The back of your shoe – Every step you take is toward progress.
On your next Lime scooter – Stick it on the front for oncoming traffic to see or stick it over the QR code to keep people accountable by forcing them to peel off the evidence of your activism.