The news these days is often depressing at worst and frustrating at best. It’s easy to let it get us down. Never fear… The News Blender has you covered. Once a week we feature Something Good and, in return, all you have to do is tell us something good that has happened to you this week, something you are thankful for, a joke, a cute animal story, an inspiring tale of heroics, a Random Act of Kindness… SOMETHING good.
Today’s something good is a bit of weirdness that is making the people of Ulster County, New York eager to vote.
Generally speaking, TMSG tries to steer clear of politics but occasionally there is a politics story that makes the cut and today is one of those exceptions.
Ulster County held their second annual “I voted” sticker design contest this summer. A high school freshman by the name of Hudson Rowen submitted a rather unique design that quickly gained support and went viral, according to Bloomberg.
Rowen’s design was quite different than the typical red, white, and blue, flag inspired stickers that are so familiar. His design, a garish spider-like creature with a human head, colorful hair, a wide grin, and red eyes, was, he said, a reflection of how crazy the last couple years have been. That monster spider-crab creature – based on the spider robots Hudson used to draw as a child – resonated with people and earned 228,000 of the 243,000 votes cast. The total population of Ulster County is less that 182,000. Hudson’s design was one of six finalists chosen through the contest.
It “flabbergasted” the staff. “We would’ve felt bad if we just kept it to ourselves”, said Ashley Dittus. “It kind of spread like wildfire and all this media attention, we’ve really kind of leaned into it to promote voting and civic engagement, especially with young people.”
With the midterm elections upon us, Hudson’s famous, irreverent, and coveted sticker is now being used at the polls. And poll workers report that it has engendered a great deal of excitement. Whether the turnout and voter enthusiasm can be chalked up wholly to Hudson’s fantastic creature is unknown, but elections inspector Parrish Bowman of Kingston points to steady and unusual turnout in the early voting crowds. Many of those were excited about getting one of Hudson’s stickers, he told the Daily Freeman.
Dina LaRose, a key master at an early voting site said, “It’s definitely gotten more people out for the first day.” She added that there was a line that stretched clear across the Andy Murphy center’s gymnasium at one point. “I’ve never seen this many people for a midterm,” Dina said.
Carol Countryman, Larry Grenadier, and Victoria St. John, all Ulster County voters, had voted and proudly showed off their atypical “I Voted” stickers. They agreed the sticker was a great idea and were excited to have one.
Hudson’s sticker has spawned online merchandise in the form of mugs and t shirts and there are even people who have been tattooed with the image.
For Hudson’s part, he is grateful for all the attention, unexpected though it is. “I would be very happy if I influenced people to go out and vote,” he said.
Things like this contest and the media attention that it drew are a great way to encourage involvement in voting, especially among young voters. If a crazy sticker gets people out to vote, that is something good!
Now it’s your turn… Tell me something good!