The big day is finally here, and voters across the country are taking part in one of America’s most beloved election day traditions: The “I Voted” stickers that are often handed out at polling places. The operative word, though, is “often.” A lot of voting locations don’t hand them out, so if you feel underserved, we’ve got some custom “I Voted” stickers for the truly devoted.
You might think that a sticker doesn’t mean very much in and of itself, especially considering the astronomic stakes of this election, but there is actually a bit of significance to be found in the “I Voted” sticker phenomenon.
For instance, a lot of businesses give away free products — nothing big, just things like donuts and and cookies — for people who show their sticker. But this is controversial: First, because it’s technically against the law; second, because a lot of people, as we discussed, voted but didn’t get those stickers; and third, because a lot of people would like to vote but are unable due to to things like long lines, ballot mix-ups, voter ID laws and voter suppression efforts. And those people deserve free donuts, too.
Nevertheless, if you’d like an “I Voted” sticker but don’t have one, Bustle came up with some honest ones that likely explain how you really feel.
There's another reason why you might not have been given an "I Voted" sticker: Some cities just don't hand them out. Chicago stopped doing so about a decade ago, apparently because too many people were slapping them on nearby windows and doorways and walls, creating a headache for public workers who had to remove them. Instead, the city hands out "I Voted" wristbands, which get the job done. But let's face it — wristbands aren't as fun as stickers. And for those who voted early or absentee, they might not have gotten any at all.
Despite the kerfuffle over the lack of "I Voted" stickers, it is a genuinely nice thing that people enjoy showing them off. It suggests that civic participation in the American political process is still largely viewed as a good thing — something to be proud of. This won't solve the many problems with America's electoral system, but the fact that voting remains a respected act suggests that, at the very least, there is a desire to fix those problems..
Images: Hannah Burton/Bustle (1); Chelsea LaSalle/Bustle (1); Bry Crasch/Bustle (1)