Local residents create new ‘I Voted’ stickers for Dallas County voters
By DIANE XAVIER The Dallas Examiner As part of a get out the vote initiative, March to the Polls, in partnership with the Dallas County Elections Department, Raise Your Hand Texas and The [...] The post Local residents create new ‘I Voted’ stickers for Dallas County voters appeared first on Dallas Examiner.
By DIANE XAVIER
The Dallas Examiner
As part of a get out the vote initiative, March to the Polls, in partnership with the Dallas County Elections Department, Raise Your Hand Texas and The Dallas Examiner, recently held a contest for local residents to redesign the “I Voted” sticker that voters wear after they participate in a Dallas County election.
The purpose of the contest was to help people feel more connected to voting and the voting process.
Camila Correa Bourdeau, executive director for MTTP, said her group wanted to get the word out about showing up to the polls and make voting cool.
“We focus on voter empowerment,” Bourdeau said. “Especially for people historically underrepresented at the ballot like young people, youth and then people of color, particularly Latinos and the Black community. So we work with a lot of school districts and register the seniors to vote and then we also go to the community and you know, participate in voter registration events.”
Bourdeau, who’s family emigrated from Chile to the United States when she was in the first grade, said it took 25 years for her to become a U.S. citizen and have the right to vote.
“I couldn’t vote for the longest time,” she recalled. “But as a student – and then eventually, as a teacher – I was really interested in the decision makers that were impacting what was possible for me as a teacher and for my students that were in my classrooms. So I started to become more civically engaged.
She said she eventually left the field of teaching and joined MTTP because she knew the non-profit worked with students and empowered people to become more civically engaged and involved in voting. She wanted to be part of that empowerment, especially for new and young voters.
“I don’t believe that people are apathetic. I think voting can be hard and intimidating. And we’re trying to make it less intimidating,” Bourdeau explained.
Living in New York at the time when she was teaching, she said she liked the city’s initiatives to get people more excited about the voting process through art competitions.
“What they did in New York was on social media, they had people submit designs so that they could have a new look for their ‘I voted’ stickers,” she said.
After moving to Dallas, she wanted to create a similar contests locally.
“I thought it was so cool. I loved it,” she continued. “And I said we have to do this. Like let’s do it immediately. We started planning for it. We hope to do it every single election here in Dallas and in the North Texas region.”
The contest launched at the beginning of September, calling on submissions from across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The group receive 38 submissions. Judges included Bourdeau; Kaylan Smith, regional director of advocacy and outreach in Dallas County for Raise Your Hand Texas; Robyn H. Jimenez, vice president of editorial and production at The Dallas Examiner; and Jessica Lugo, SVEC regional program manager at MTTP.
The group chose two winners and unveiled the winning designs during its “I Voted” Sticker – Redesign Contest Unveiling Oct. 22 at For Oak Cliff. Kernell Slack, a 12th grade student at School of Health Professions at Townview Center, and Jelena Petrovic, a local working professional. Both winners’ artwork depicted a unique version of the Dallas skyline with a voting message. They received a certificate featuring their winning design, a swag bag and fair tickets.
“I just thought it would be pretty cool to participate in this competition and come up with a design and possibly have my sticker shown,” Slack said. “I think it is important to vote as it helps us get our voices heard with the people we are voting to represent us.”
Petrovic, who immigrated with her family at age 8 from Bosnia to the U.S. in 1998, grateful to be part of an initiative to boost voter participation.
“Not everyone around the world gets to vote. So anything that we can do to make voting cool and get more people to the polls is what we need to do,” Petrovic said. “Having the ability to choose your leadership is something that happens all over the world, and I think it is something we tend to forget and take for granted here in the U.S. So any opportunity I get [I] remind people in the U.S. that things could be different; we could not be able to vote one day, God forbid. So anybody that we can get to the polls, the more the better.”
Slack’s sticker will be distributed during early voting, while Petrovic’s will be featured on Election Day, Nov. 8. To learn more about the next contest, follow MTTP on Facebook @mttptexas.
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