ELMIRA, NY (WETM) -All across the country, these iconic stickers are passed out at voting locations and here in the Twin Tiers people wear them as a badge of honor.
“I’m excited about my sticker,” said Rosland Geter, a voter in Chemung County. “It’s just a reminder, it’s like a little kid who does something well, and then they want that sticker at the end, like when they go to the doctor.”
Susan Lynough is a resident in Chemung County and likes to show off her sticker to the public. “If I want to go anywhere, I want people to know,” said Lynough after she voted in the 2020 election.
The history of when these stickers started is uncertain. Different places claim to be the first but, Claire Jerry, Curator of Political History at the Smithsonian, explained that she can’t make the call on the origin of the stick.
“They are not as old as some people think,” said Jerry. “They appear to have started late 1970s early 1980s. Several communities sort of like claim to be the first.
No matter where they officially began, they are in high demand here at local polling stations.
“That is normally the biggest complaint that we have a lot of times is that a poll sight ran out of stickers,” said Vicky Olin, Republican Commissioner Steuben Board of Elections.
As much as some adults love receive their stickers after they vote, Olin explained that the stickers are not just for the voters.
“We also are sending the regular I voted stickers for parents that come with their kids and bring their kids in with them so that their kids can have an I voted sticker, you know so that they understand the importance of voting,” Olin said.
These stickers seem to translate beyond their physical form something that can be seen heightened due to the pandemic.
“Voting is often a very communal activity. You go with your friends or your family, and you see people you know at the polling place, and this year that’s not happening for a lot of people and so if they get a sticker even if it’s a digital sticker, which I know that California is issuing, it’s a way of having that communal experience by posting it on various social media platforms, here’s my I voted sticker, I hope you are voting too,” said Jerry.