Most of Wilton CT’s planned events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment were upended by the pandemic. So today, the Town’s First Selectwoman and many Wilton organizations are posting virtual ‘I VOTED’ stickers on their social media platforms. These ‘digital stickers’ are not the generic flag version voters are familiar with. Instead, the series consists of six designs, most with images of Wilton women who fought for equality in the late 1800s/early 1900s — Grace Knight Schenck, Hannah Raymond Ambler, Alice Merwin Eakland and more. Republicans and Democrats alike fought for equality at the ballot box. The posts include short captions explaining the women’s contributions.
Because of the changes in voting this year — the expansion of voting by absentee ballot and the move to ‘contactless’ in-person voting, the idea of giving out ‘I VOTED’ stickers at the polls was shelved and the project transitioned to a digital format. Wilton organizations are posting these digital files on their Facebook and Instagram pages and distributing them to their respective members/databases in time for the August 11th primary election and again on November 3rd for the general election. Wilton voters are invited to upload, post and share the images on their preferred social media platforms for friends and neighbors (and the world) to see. We hope this encourages others to vote as well as educate themselves on the suffrage movement locally and nationally. Perhaps this effort will inspire others to celebrate their own local suffrage history.
Wilton’s First Selectwoman (Lynne Vanderslice) and CT’s Secretary of State (Denise Merrill) are participating in this project, along with the Wilton Historical Society, the Wilton Library, the Wilton League of Women Voters, the Wilton DTC, the Wilton Garden Club, the Wilton YMCA, Ambler Farm and Weir Farm, to name a few. Ms President USA will also participate, an organization that helps empower young women not yet able to vote.
The project was initiated by Pamela Hovland, a Wilton resident, graphic designer, faculty member at Yale University and a long-time visual activist. Pamela collaborated with Julie Hughes, archivist at the Wilton Library History Room and Peggy Reeves, a former Democratic Registrar of Voters in Wilton, a former State Representative, and the former Director of Elections for the Secretary of the State’s office, now on staff focusing on voting access.