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By: Nick Blumberg on 03/12/2013
In the United States, more people say they vote in elections than actually do. One way to prove it is some physical evidence of visiting a polling place. As KJZZ’s Nick Blumberg reports, perhaps the most common piece of proof is provided to Valley voters with help from a sponsor.
A sticker provided to voters by the Phoenix Association of Realtors. (Photo by Nick Blumberg - KJZZ)
A dog wearing an "I Voted Today" sticker on Election Day 2012. No, he didn't actually cast a ballot. (Photo by Nick Blumberg - KJZZ)
If you’ve voted in Maricopa County or the City of Phoenix anytime since, oh, 1985, you probably got one of those stickers that says "I Voted" … a little badge of honor for civic participation. They used to be included in early ballots, but now you only get them if you vote or drop off a ballot in person.
And if you look closely, they’re sponsored by the Phoenix Association of Realtors. Cami Elliott is the Association’s president. She isn’t aware of any other county or city with this kind of arrangement.
“We felt that by donating and creating these stickers that it not only brought the Realtor community out, but it also enforced and we hoped that it would promote more people to get out and vote," Elliott said.
Even if seeing “I Voted” on a friend or co-worker’s shirt doesn’t get you out to a polling place, it still benefits taxpayers who aren’t shelling out for Election Day door prizes. But, could a sponsored sticker create a conflict of interest? For example, what if there was a ballot measure that Realtors had a stake in?
“We would not have used the stickers had something like that occurred," said Cris Mayer, Phoenix’s City Clerk. "But at least for Phoenix, I don’t have any recollection of there ever being an issue like that or an item on the ballot that they were, you know, involved in, or using the stickers as a method to promote the election or their position.”
The Phoenix Association of Realtors says 25 million “I Voted” stickers have been distributed since 1985.