For at least a generation Americans who took the time to vote, wait in line (usually long) and cast their presidential ballots, have enjoyed a small but significant token of appreciation: the “I Voted “.

The stickers were the adult equivalent of the star that elementary school teachers pinned on their graded tests, and allowed voters to go a little bigger for the remainder of election day. After all, in a country where voter turnout has historically been 55%, it was proof of civic duty.

At least it was until this year.

With the record number of people flooding the polls days before election day – not to mention how we’re all supposed to stay three feet apart – many counties and cities that already depend on cash have chosen to do the Offer stickers to skip year. There is also a sizable segment of the population voting by mail this year (up to 80 million, according to the New York Times estimates), and many of them are unlikely to receive an “I Voted” sticker to them is returned.

The lack of these badges has not gone unnoticed by entrepreneurial entrepreneurs. Online marketplaces like Zazzle, Redbubble, Opentip and Wish all sell rolls with “I Voted” stickers, with variants like “I Voted Early”, “I Voted by Mail” and “I Wanted People To Know I Voted by Mail” I printed Get out of this sticker. “

Now comes the Krispy Kreme donut chain that has just announced that it is here too to tackle the lack of stickers by giving away its own. On election day, anyone who emerges from the polls can receive a free glazed donut and an “I Voted” sticker in a participating shop.

“With so many people voting early, the number of mail-in votes and the security restrictions on voting due to the pandemic increasing, we have found that Americans are not getting access to this sticker,” CMO Dave Skena told Adweek. “Some polling stations replaced stickers with pens, others offered no substitutes for the coveted sticker at all. We wanted to do what we do best and bring joy to consumers on election day. “

There is little evidence that stickers actually encourage people to vote, but they seem to be highly valued by voters as a way of showing others that they made the effort to vote. And if polling stations don’t have stickers this year, the desire for that recognition will, at least in theory, result in people being sent to Krispy Kreme.

The chain will distribute their stickers and donuts on an honor system. Not only does Krispy Kreme pull people into stores where they are likely to buy a coffee with that donut, but it also encourages them to share a picture of themselves enjoying their snack with their stickers and tag it with #KrispyKreme .

“Krispy Kreme knows that many voters enjoy sharing photos of their stickers on social media as a form of expression,” added Skena. “And we hope to empower them to do the same this year.”

In the meantime, some local companies are taking advantage of the appeal of the “I Voted” sticker in the backend and not giving it away, instead offering deals and discounts for consumers who wear them. In San Antonio, for example, citizens who show up at the Lorraine bakery with an “I Voted” sticker can receive a free macaron or coffee. Home Slice Pizza in San Antonio will also be trading a sticker for a free slice.

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