(WAFB) - Voters across the state are feeling naked Tuesday after walking out of their precincts without an ‘I Voted’ sticker. The Secretary of State’s Office (SOS) says it did not budget for the stickers this year.
“Given the choice between budgeting for services and budgeting for stickers, we’re going to pick services,” SOS spokesperson Brandee Patrick said. She added that until 2016, the clerks of courts provided the stickers.
The Secretary of State’s office provided the coveted Blue Dog stickers for the 2016 elections. Patrick says it’s possible some clerks expected SOS to continue providing stickers this year, which would explain why some precincts had stickers this year and others did not.
“Who’s running on a platform for more stickers?” one man asked at his polling location, only half joking.
“Some people are kind of disappointed because a lot of people couldn’t quite vote in the presidential election, so this is their first time,” said LSU student and voter, Macy McElveen. “It’s just kind of disappointing to come and not get that little appreciation sticker.”
Voters on social media were especially upset by the missing stickers.
Geaux Vote President Zoe Williamson says the stickers can be more than a simple reward for fulfilling civic duty, especially during a year with low turnout expectations.
“They remind people who may have not remembered that today was Election Day,” she said. “When they see a coworker or a fellow student wearing an ‘I Voted’ sticker, it reminds them, ‘Hey, I need to go vote too.’”
Williamson says she recognizes the issue is trivial and says she hopes people’s motivation to vote goes well beyond the sticker in return. But she says Louisianans could feel left out because most other states offer a sticker, which she says helps to promote a sense of community during a time of political division.
“You can’t make people vote,” she said. "But when they see that sticker, they get that justification and that reward for voting. They get a sense of personal gratitude and that propels our community forward."
The Secretary of State’s Office says voters who want some validation for casting their ballot can participate in their Honor a Veteran program, which allows voters to dedicate their ballots to specific heroes and print off a certificate for free online.