Ah, the coveted “I Voted” sticker—the method by which American citizens proudly announce to the world, “Look at me! I’m civically engaged.”
Once a year, this sticker shows up in your feed like before & after photos at FitCon. Just to be clear, I have no issue with the sticker itself (posting on social media is an entirely different story). And I’m 100% for voting in every single election where even a single item shows up on your ballot.
What I do take issue with is what this sticker represents—or perhaps more accurately, who it doesn’t represent.
Voting in person, on a Tuesday, is stupid. It has been for a long time now, yet we still do it. Not all states. And some states offer other options. But for many states, it’s still the only option for a lot of people. And that really needs to change.
Here’s the deal
- Minorities are disproportionately affected by voter ID laws, which are unfortunately still a thing in 2019. I know. It’s ridiculous, but it’s true.
- Anyone who works a job during daylight hours (when polls are open), has a much harder time getting to the polls to vote.
- Weather affects people’s decision to go to a physical location to vote. The fucking weather is deciding whether or not we vote!
- In some locations, we have to deal with campaign volunteers handing us flyers as we walk in the door, as if we’re going to change our vote at the last second (although, some people probably do)
- Many of our voting machines are either unreliable or easily hackable. And our government is not doing anything to fix them.
Here’s what the deal should be
…or at least a much better alternative.
For everyone who is eligible to vote, send them a paper ballot a few weeks ahead of Election Day.
- eliminate the extra step that requires people to take action just to be able to vote
- more people will vote. more of your region will be represented. and we’d actually be practicing democracy for once!
- give folks some time to consider their options, and talk it over with friends, family & those in their community
- provide a basic understanding of local measures, and what voting yay or nay actual means (because the language is unnecessarily confusing)
- make our elections more safe by always having a paper backup
I’m not surprised when I see these stickers pop up each year. After all, most of my friends are white, college-educated, and make a livable wage. Many of them attended the same private liberal arts college that put an emphasis on civic engagement. Others attend the same $200/mo. gym I go to and wear a different $70 pair of leggings for each day of the week.
But a world in which we are the only ones making decisions is not a world I want to live in. It’s when I step outside of that world that I’m truly challenged. It’s outside of my little bubble where I become uncomfortable. It’s where I learn new things, become a better human, and see what the world is truly capable of when we all have a voice.
I want those voices to be heard. I want it to be as easy for them to vote as it is for me.
Sticker Be Gone
I’d love to live in a world where the “I Voted” sticker is a thing of the past. A world where we get our ballots ahead of time & engage in meaningful discussions with our peers. A world where we can change our address, or choose not to own a car, and still be registered to vote, automatically.
A world where people chose the politicians instead of the other way around.