If I don’t wear my I voted sticker all day then I will be totally shunned won’t I?
— Chloe (@sundaypeaches) November 6, 2012
In small Swiss towns, being seen at your voting location might be the perfect social motivator. But in larger cities, it’s probable that you won’t know the strangers in line with you at the polls. The primary social pressure to vote has to come from somewhere besides being spied by your best friends as you’re waiting in line. Where might it be? People like being seen voting, as [study author Patricia] Funk concluded, but we also like being seen having voted. Theoretically something signalling to our community that we’ve already voted should create the same feelings of social cohesion, civic duty, and belonging. And that’s where the “I Voted” sticker comes in.
And those stickers are even more effective if they’re virtual:
Today, Facebook is encouraging its legions of users to declare civic enthusiasm to their friends, with a prominent “I’m A Voter” botton at the top of the newsfeed. Large-scale, experimental research shows that simply clicking the button, and sharing your voting intention, could do more to increase voter turnout than any other partisan rant or news story you may share today. With a Single Message delivered electronically on Election Day,” researcher James Fowler explained to TechCrunch, “Facebook caused an extra third of a million people to vote. To put that number in context, remember that the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election was won by a margin of just 537 votes in Florida.”
Good for America (and California, and San Francisco) that is has the spirit for that kind of [multilingual] button. My one guiding insight about America over the years is that our openness to the world’s talent, through immigration, has been and remains the strategic advantage we have over anyplace else.
A reader gets creative:
So I voted absentee a few days ago and was sad to not have my sticker to show off so I made my own and have been sharing it with fellow absentee-ers: