‘I Voted’ stickers have been used in almost every election since 1986 and have become a trendy way of expressing “I performed my civic duty” while serving as a reminder for others to go cast their votes. But voters in Rochester, New York have found a better way to use their ‘I Voted’ stickers. While some Instagrammed their badge of voter status, others decided to use their stickers to adorn Susan B. Anthony’s tombstone. There are many ways to commemorate the dead — flowers, candles, handwritten letters — but affixing ‘I Voted’ stickers all over Susan B. Anthony’s tombstone brings a deeper meaning to the sticker’s intended purpose.
It has become a voting day tradition in Rochester, where Susan B. Anthony lived for forty years. Since 2014, whenever there’s an election, people go to the Mount Hope Cemetery and pay tribute to Anthony by leaving flowers and their ‘I Voted’ stickers on her grave. The number of people leaving gifts at Anthony’s grave has grown in the past two years and the staff at Mount Hope Cemetery say that this small act embodies “the very spirit of what cemeteries are for — a way to pay homage in an enthusiastic way.”
Susan B. Anthony made some waves during her time, and the impact continues to ripple to today. She was a rebel-rouser, a pioneer of civil disobedience, and one of the largest figures to emerge from Women’s Suffrage. She fought for women’s rights for over 60 years. Aside from a visit to jail for voting illegally, Anthony had to endure being criticized by her community for being an outspoken woman. She was referred to as “an unattractive reject” and mocked everywhere she went by men hosting fake funerals as a welcome parade whenever she came to town. Regardless of the ridicule she faced, she pushed forward, unrelenting towards women’s right to vote. Even though she passed away before seeing the 19th Amendment enacted, she is credited for paving the way for equal rights for women.
Anthony’s legacy continues as one of the things she was fighting for came into reality on New York’s primary election day. This is the first time a woman has won the New York state Presidential primary. And an added bonus is the perfectly timed announcement that Harriet Tubman will be replacing Andrew Jackson on the face of the $20 bill.
Susan B. Anthony’s tombstone in Rochester is a living monument — a subtle way for people today to thank her for leading protests and marches that have led us closer to social equality between the sexes. And though we still have many more elections and social movements to go through before we reach equality for all, using our right to vote (and the ‘I Voted’ stickers) is a great way to celebrate just how far we’ve come.