The unique, spider-emblazoned “I Voted” stickers that took the internet by storm in July have finally made their way into the hands of voters.
The bizarre, brightly-colored design was crafted by Hudson Rowan, a 14-year old living in Ulster County, New York. Rowan was the winner of the county’s second-ever annual contest to design the “I Voted” sticker – a project created to encourage youth to participate in the voting process. The design quickly received internet fame, standing out among other designs that were more plainly designed and more explicitly voting-related.
Early voting kicked off in New York on October 29 – and voters have been more excited than ever to get their “I Voted” stickers, according to local election officials.
Ashley Dittus, the Ulster County Elections Commissioner, told CNN that she came up with the idea of the sticker contest to “engage with young people.”
“We always go to high schools to register students [to vote] every spring. Half the time they’re not really paying attention, not really engaged,” she explained.
The contest invited youth from around the county to submit their own sticker designs, inserting “something specifically from the young people in the community” into the voting process.
The election commission shared the top six sticker designs online so people could vote for their favorite.
Rowan’s design “kept getting shared,” Dittus said. “People were saying it’s really different, it really captures the essence of the political zeitgeist.”
The design features what appears to be a humanoid face with pink and purple skin, bright red eyes, and a six-legged body, with neon hair and teeth. The “I Voted” message is scrawled in bright red.
Almost overnight, the design gathered thousands of votes, Dittus said. The previous year, the election commission had implemented measures to prevent users from voting twice from the same IP address – so they knew the flood of votes were authentic.
The neon spider-monster eventually garnered over 228,000 votes.
Rowan and his family love the popularity of his unusual design, Dittus said. “His mom is so proud. He’s a very good sport.”
And voters love the unique sticker. “People are completely obsessed with it,” Dittus added. Some voters have even said that they “came and voted early because they wanted to get it before they ran out.”
Two people have even gotten the design tattooed, Dittus said. “We’re having a lot of fun with it,” she said.
Around 12,000 residents had participated in early voting as of Thursday evening, according to the election commissioner.
Voters are “definitely in a better mood,” Dittus said. “Through Covid-19, all the political strife, the work that we do here has been put into question. Not unlike any other board, we get a lot of people, election deniers.”
“If the stickers are making people come in and be nice to workers at poll sites, then I would do this same thing every single year,” she said.