Fourteen-year-old’s ‘I voted’ design goes viral

Hudson Rowan

Thanks to an irreverent submission from a freshman at Rondout Valley High School, Ulster County’s second annual “I Voted” sticker contest has gone viral.

Hudson Rowan, a 14-year-old from Marbletown, garnered 93% of the vote in a six-way race of teenage finalists with his sticker design, which eschews traditional patriotic motifs in favor of a wild-eyed human head on an insect legs rendered in bold psychedelic colors.

The percentage is impressive, but so is the vote tally, which at press time puts him comfortably ahead of the pack with 224,664 votes. To put that into demographic perspective, according to the 2020 US Census, Ulster County has a population of 181,851.

The outsized popularity of Rowan’s design and the county contest can be attributed to the power of social media, where images of the very grinning human spider proclaiming “I HAVE VOTED” emerged shortly after the contest began a few weeks ago. .

“It was so nice to have so much positive support from people,” Hudson said this week. “(I was very surprised.”

Hudson said he was influenced into entering the pageant by his mother, Molly Rowan, who has since coordinated his many media requests from outlets like the New York Times and CBS News. In a television interview with the latter, he says he was not enthusiastic at first, but was soon inspired by the “spider robots” he painted when he was younger.

In an interview with Hudson Valley 1Hudson explained how he came across his popular “I voted” submission.

“I started sketching different patterns and styles until it all came together,” he said.

The other five finalists in the county contest have also received impressive vote tallies so far, with fellow Marbletown residents Wendy Stewart, 14, and Phoebe Stewart, 13, receiving around 7,400 and 1,500 votes respectively. Also among the finalists are Kaeden Bredberg, 18, New Paltz resident (2,400 votes), Shafil Sabbir, 18, New Paltz resident (1,200 votes), and Melissa, 15, of Gardiner (1,800 votes). , whose last name is not public.

“I voted” sticker of Hudson Rowan, 14.

The viral popularity of Hudson Rowan’s design and the ‘I voted’ sticker contest is a good thing, said Ashley Dittus (D), who alongside John Quigley (R) is election commissioner for Ulster County Board of Elections.

“We were overwhelmed and pleasantly surprised by the success of our ‘I Voted’ sticker contest this year,” said Dittus. “The contest was launched two years ago as part of our Young Voter Engagement Program, and I think because it is a contest for and by young people, it has resonated with young people in a way that I have never seen before.”

Dittus said she hopes the July buzz will get people to the polls in November.

“If the sticker encourages people to vote in person to the extent that they voted for the contest online, then we should see an increase in ballot turnout in November,” Dittus said. “We’ve heard from people across the country and beyond, from the UK to Australia, who have seen and liked our competition and want to get a sticker. I sincerely hope that our competition and the attention that he gave to the vote will inspire other election administrators to not only organize their own sticker contest, but to engage with youth in their communities.

Hudson said he was delighted that his design drew attention to the electoral process. “I would be very happy if I encouraged people to go and vote,” he said.

The Ulster County Board of Elections ‘I Voted’ sticker competition runs until Friday July 29, when the official winner will be announced for Election Day on Tuesday November 8, with stickers available from early voting on Saturday, October 29. The Board of Elections has also decided to hold a special round for the primary and special voting session on Tuesday August 23, starting with early voting on Saturday August 13, with the five finalist stickers being printed and voters receiving each. a. of the five.

As for what’s next for artist Hudson Rowan?

“I’m not totally sure,” he said. “I’m going to watch RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) in the fall, but I’m not totally sure about the future.”

To vote in the Ulster County Board of Elections ‘I Voted’ sticker contest, visit: https://elections.ulstercountyny.gov/i-voted-sticker-contest/.

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