Voting is super important. With just one ballot you can have a say who pulls the strings of government, possibly changing the country for years to come. It's definitely a coveted right, but there's one aspect of the process that always seems to get the most attention: the classic "I Voted" sticker. You'll notice your social feeds are crowded with friends and family posing with their stickers (and rightfully so), and these tweets of "I voted" stickers in the 2018 midterms are making me feel super passionate about exercising my right to vote!
Personally, I love the idea of my feeds being overrun by "I voted" stickers. On the one hand, I love to see that all my pals completed their civic duty and went to the polls. But more importantly, I believe it sort of shames, I mean, uh, motivates, others to also go out and vote. Heck, there might be someone scrolling through Instagram or Twitter who either forgot (somehow) that elections were happening, or maybe doesn't want to deal with being the only one not to post an "I Voted" picture. I don't care what drives you to the polls, if it's sticker shame, well then so be it.
Also, just, the stickers are so much fun! Who doesn't love a sticker?
The social media parade of "I voted" stickers has been a long-standing tradition. But you might be wondering where the stickers actually came from? According to TIME, it seems to date all the way back to the 1980s, but it gets a little fuzzy from there.
An Oct. 29, 1982 issue of the Miami Herald seems to make the first mention of the now-coveted "I Voted" stickers. The article spoke about discounts being offered to patrons wearing the stickers. But, according to TIME, the Pheonix Realtors Association claims they are the ones who started the sticker trend in 1985, while National Campaign Supply says they were the first to sell them in 1986.
While it's hard to pinpoint who exactly came up with the idea, the publication does give some insight into the reasoning behind it. In 1987 Janet Bourdreau, who used to run the election-supply company Intab, designed the "I Voted" sticker with the American flag waving in the wind. She told TIME that she encountered people that didn't even know it was Election Day and wanted to do something about it. “I wanted them to see people with an ‘I Voted’ sticker and think, ‘Oh, I should do that,'" she said.
So I wasn't too far off. Posting your sticker on social media isn't such a bad idea since it might remind people to vote.
Now, speaking of those discounts I mentioned (don't act like you haven't been waiting to hear more about that), it's not 1982 anymore, but your "I Voted" sticker can still snag you some deals. For instance, according to AM New York, if you flash your sticker at Black Seed Bagels in New York City you get a free coffee with your purchase from 7 a.m. ET to 5 p.m. ET. But it's not limited to coffee. The Rubin Museum is giving free admission on Nov. 7 to anyone with a sticker. If you live in Dallas, Texas, your sticker can get you discounted booze. Just prove you voted at BrainDead Brewing and get your second beer for just $2, according to Guide Live. Lots of cities offer "I Voted" sticker discounts. If you want to find more deals in your area, might I suggest Google?
While you shouldn't need an incentive to go and vote other than having a say in the way your country is run, the stickers do give a little bit of an extra push. So don't forget to vote, and snap that photo.