A City of Ann Arbor contest to find the best sticker designs to promote voting in the 2020 Presidential Election is now earning national attention. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC, http://www.eac.gov/) has named the City of Ann Arbor a 2020 Clearinghouse Award winner in the category, Most Creative and Original “I Voted” Stickers.
The city clerk’s office, with support from the Ann Arbor Public Art Commission, held the “I Voted” Sticker Design Contest in spring 2020, seeking local artists of all ages to design the city’s 2020 “I Voted” stickers. This was one of the strategies the city clerk’s office launched, at the beginning of 2020, to build excitement for the 2020 Presidential Election and to ultimately give Ann Arbor voters a unique and visible way to show their civic pride. A panel of judges narrowed the choices to a group of exceptional finalists in the three categories; community members then had the chance to vote for their favorites. The winners were announced at the June 15, 2020, City Council meeting: Sylvia DeBord, Bach Elementary, Grades K–6 Division winner | Marcela Passos, Pioneer High School, Grades 7–12 Division winner | Eric Oppitz, Citywide Division winner. Find more information on the city’s contest at https://www.a2gov.org/departments/city-clerk/Elections/Pages/Sticker-Design-Contest.aspx.
“The city clerk’s office is honored to be recognized with this award, and we share it with our community members who so enthusiastically participated in our contest,” said Ann Arbor City Clerk Jacqueline Beaudry, who was Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks 2019 City Clerk of the Year. “Our staff had been actively preparing for the 2020 Presidential Election since 2019, in anticipation of high voter turnout and a potential for challenges as a result. This recognition from the EAC also serves as a nod to the tireless work and creativity our team put into the election preparation process.” For more information about Ann Arbor’s Clearinghouse award, visit https://www.eac.gov/election-officials/city-ann-arbor-mi-2020-clearinghouse-award-winner.
Holding the contest during a pandemic was not in the original plans, but the response from the community — with design submittals and with selection of the winners — was still overwhelming, Beaudry added. On Nov. 3, 2020, Election Day, Ann Arbor voters could pick up a sticker while at their polling place, while absentee voters were mailed a sticker with their ballot. Digital versions of the stickers were also available to download for posting to social media.
The EAC Clearinghouse Awards, also known as the “Clearie” Awards, recognizes the best practices in election administration, https://www.eac.gov/eac-clearinghouse-award-winners-2020. Established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), the EAC is charged with serving as a clearinghouse for election administration information. To further this mission, the EAC launched the Clearies in 2016 to promote best practices in elections and celebrate the accomplishments of election officials.
In addition to creative and original “I Voted” sticker design, the other award categories include innovation in election administration; improving accessibility for voters with disabilities; best practices in recruiting, training and retaining poll workers; and a new category for innovation in election cybersecurity and technology. Winners were selected by two independent panels of election officials from the EAC’s advisory boards, with the EAC commissioners serving as judges for the sticker category.
“This year we are pleased to receive a record-breaking number of 137 Clearie submissions, more than tripling the 2019 submissions,” said EAC Chairman Donald Palmer. “The number of Clearie submissions highlights that even though this was a challenging election year, officials continue to modernize and develop programming that will serve as helpful best practices for the coming years. The job of an election official is never done, and we hope to see even more submissions and exceptional examples in 2021. The Clearie winners, those who submitted entries, and all election officials should be incredibly proud of the work they did to ensure a successful 2020 election. These best practices are valuable resources as officials continue to administer elections during the pandemic and for years to come.”
EAC Commissioner and 2020 Chairman Ben Hovland said, “During an incredibly challenging year, election officials rose to the occasion by developing new, innovative solutions to serve voters. As a result of their creativity and perseverance, millions of voters had their voices heard in extremely well-run elections with record turnout.”
Now in its fifth year, the Clearie awards recognize the innovative efforts of election officials across America. Entries were judged based on each initiative’s depiction of positive results, innovation, sustainability, outreach efforts, cost-effectiveness, and replicability. More information about each awardee is available on the EAC’s website.
In a joint statement all four EAC commissioners added: “We want to thank the 2020 Clearie judges for taking time away from their busy schedules to review the submissions and help us recognize the excellent contributions of their colleagues from around the country.”