An election-day tradition of attaching “I Voted” stickers to suffragette Susan B. Anthony’s headstone will change in 2020 after the organizers of the cemetery said the stickers were damaging the marble, numerous sources reported.
While the headstone was being restored in the spring, it became clear that the adhesive residue from the stickers, combined with the solvents and methods needed to remove it, were damaging Anthony’s gravesite in Rochester, New York, USA Today reported.
Plastic covering to protect the gravestones of Susan B. Anthony and her sister,Mary. pic.twitter.com/Uz4nmRj6SI
— Tina MacIntyre-Yee (@tyee23) October 24, 2020
People are welcome to visit the gravesite during the 2020 election to place their stickers, but they’ll no longer be able to place them directly on the marble. Instead, visitors can place them on clear plastic sleeves made for the headstones of Anthony and her sister, Mary S. Anthony, whose headstone is next to hers. (RELATED: Mattel Releases Susan B. Anthony Barbie Doll For Suffragette’s 200th Birthday)
As many as 12,000 people visited the grace on Election Day in 2016. Some saw the ritual as a patriotic gesture, while others considered it to be “desecration of a family gravestone,” Patricia Corcoran, president of nonprofit Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery, said, according to USA Today.
The sleeves were already covering the headstones Saturday, the first day of in-person early voting, and began collecting “I Voted” stickers quickly, according to USA Today. Justin Roj, communications director for the city of Rochester, which owns the cemetery, reportedly said that there are multiple sleeves which can be used to replace the ones in use after they’re covered in stickers.
Visitors can also place the stickers on a large thank-you card to Anthony that’s at the gravesite.
Anthony, along with another suffragette, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, fought for women’s rights for over 50 years, traveling the country giving speeches demanding women be given the right to vote, according to Women’s History. Anthony was arrested for voting in 1872, and spent the following years leading protests and giving speeches advocating for the right to vote. She died in 1906, 14 years before women were given the right to vote with the passage of the 19th amendment in 1920.