TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — When the in-person early voting period begins Monday, voters who head to the polls in Travis County will find a new version of the familiar “I Voted” sticker featuring a springtime staple.
The Travis County Clerk’s Office launched a design contest earlier this year asking local college students to create a new sticker, and Ashwara Pillai’s submission won. The University of Texas at Austin senior made time during the middle of her finals week to craft a design depicting a bluebonnet in check mark form with the words “I Voted” next to it.
“School was important, of course,” she said, “but it was just such an amazing opportunity. I just didn’t want it to pass by.”
As an Austin native, the inspiration for her design came from some of her childhood memories tied to the beautiful flowers and, interestingly, ice cream.
“My mom has this competition for us growing up in our family. Whoever was the first to see a bluebonnet in the season got Amy’s Ice Cream,” Pillai said, laughing. “That was a very competitive thing for me and my sister growing up. But when I was brainstorming, I was trying to think of what does Texas mean to me? What does Austin mean to me? What’s the traditions and the warmth that comes from being in the city? The first thing that came to mind was a bluebonnet because I’ve just had so many fond memories and Amy’s Ice Cream that comes from it, so that’s why I really wanted to incorporate the bluebonnet.”
Rebecca Guerrero, the Travis County clerk, said her office printed about 100,000 of these stickers, so it will only be available for a limited time. She suggests going to the polls as early as possible so that voters can be sure they get one.
“I love the one that was ultimately picked as our winner and so I think that showing that during this election is going to be great because it’s a beautiful design,” Guerrero said. “I’m very happy with it.”
Pillai also said it’s an honor to especially have her “Indian name” associated with the winning design because she hopes people seeing that will provide some inspiration to others.
“Being an Indian woman and a graphic designer, it’s very rare. There’s not a lot of people that are able to have their name out there,” she said. “That was really important to me to get that representation.”
She described how it’s going to feel once the polls open next week, and she sees the first people wearing the sticker she created.
“I think it’ll be really cool just to be able to walk past them and be like, ‘Hey, that’s something that I did that they’re wearing,'” Pillai said. “And I’ll secretly be very proud of myself.”
The Travis County Clerk’s Office plans to hold more design contests in the future so that other college students have a chance to show off their work and regularly change up the look of the voting sticker.