Rant: I want a sticker.

Forget high school graduation; the best thing about turning 18 was earning the right to vote in elections. And even if I was still making very questionable decisions about hairstyles (perms? orange-ish hair?), I know that I researched the candidates on that first ballot thoroughly and made informed choices. I stepped into the voting stall, cast my vote, and, immediately grabbed an “I Voted” sticker from a nearby table.

I hadn’t been so excited to wear a sticker since kindergarten. Yes, it was a bit childish, but that sticker made me feel proud to be an American. Today, that sentiment hasn’t changed. I don’t care which candidate you vote for; I just want you to vote. And if something as small as a sticker gets more people to participate in democracy, we’re all better off.

That leads me to Colorado’s mail-in ballots. After spending hours in line for the 2008 election, I’m a convert to the mail-in ballot. It’s slick, easy to fill out, and lets me spend even more time contemplating the candidates before picking my favorites. The trouble is that slipping that ballot in a post office box just isn’t as fulfilling as stepping out of a voting booth and accepting a sticker from a volunteer. Isn’t there a way to combine the convenience of a mail-in ballot with the ah-shucks feeling of participating in Election Day?

Rave: 5280’s “I Voted” sticker.

Given our state’s budget problems, I’m not advocating that Colorado spend money printing out a sticker just so I can boast that I voted. There’s another solution. 5280‘s talented Sean Parsons designed an “I Voted” button for you to download that’s inspired by the Mile High skyline. There’s no doubt: I’m casting a mail-in ballot, but on November 6, you’ll find me wearing a print out of this button on my shirt. I’m probably going to attach one to my door, too. Maybe I’ll post one to my street’s stop sign or in the back window of my car. Are you with me?

5280.com Exclusive:

Download a PDF of 5280‘s “I Voted” sticker. (Design by Sean Parsons)

Follow senior editor Natasha Gardner on Twitter at @natashajgardner or on Pinterest.

Natasha Gardner
Natasha Gardner
Natasha Gardner is a Denver-based writer and the former Articles Editor for 5280.