They’re the modest markers of civic duty: small, white stickers adorned with the American flag that prove to the world “I Voted.”
Cities and towns are responsible for ordering and disseminating the patriotic decals on Election Day — some do, some don’t, state officials said. But in many municipalities, the stickers have grown from random souvenirs to an Election Day staple. Voters wear them proudly throughout the day and post pictures of them on Facebook.
A North Carolina election-supply company, Intab LLC, is credited with pairing the words “I Voted” with a flag flapping in an adhesive wind nearly three decades ago. Its website advertises a roll of 1,000 stickers for $6.95.
Company officials were too busy Monday to talk. But election officials attested to the stickers’ popularity.
“It’s amazing how much people like them, especially adults,” said Nicholas Salerno, Somerville’s election chairman.
Salerno said the city started using the stickers about 10 years ago, long enough for duty in two presidential elections. They’ve caught on quickly, he said.
“They love it. They look for them now. It’s big,” Salerno said. “If someone comes in with a child, you’ll give them [a sticker] and they’ll just kind of hesitate. They want one for the kid, too.”
In Quincy, polling places started giving the stickers out in 2010, City Clerk Nicole Crispo said. Joe Shea, who preceded Crispo, was the first to use them.
“He suggested it, and once you give them, you can’t take them away,” said Crispo, whose office recently ordered 30,000 more for Tuesday, after dispensing them to early voters.
Like anything, Somerville’s Salerno said, the stickers carry a cost, but it’s not significant.
“If [cost] was out of sight, we wouldn’t order them,” he said. “Or maybe we’d have to, because people would demand them.”