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Nashville Chooses Voter Sticker Celebrating 100 Years of Women's Suffrage

6/5/2020
Emily Waltenbaugh

Hume-Fogg Student’s Sticker Design to be Available at Every Davidson County Voting Location for August General and November Presidential Elections

After two weeks of online voting and more than 2,300 votes cast, Nashville has chosen a design by Milka Negasi, a rising senior at Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School, to be Davidson County’s special-edition voter sticker for this fall’s elections. 

Images shows women of different cultures holding an 'I Voted' banner together with the backdrop of the Nashville skyline.

Negasi’s design received the most votes in a contest sponsored by the Metro Nashville Arts Commission (“Metro Arts”) and the Davidson County Election Commission for 7th-12th grade students to create a voter sticker commemorating 100 years of Women’s Suffrage. 

The special-edition sticker will be available, alongside the traditional oval “I Voted” stickers from the Election Commission and an option from the Tennessee Secretary of State, at all Davidson County early voting and Election Day voting locations for the August general and November presidential elections.

“When I read that the sticker contest was being held in honor of the centennial of the 19th Amendment, I wanted to make it very clear to voters of this extremely special anniversary,” Negasi said about her design process. “I made sure to utilize the colors of the Women’s Suffrage movement, purple, yellow, and white, but also kept true to the colors of the traditional ‘I Voted’ sticker. I thought it was important to represent all the women who have played a part in history and who are playing a part in our future. And of course, I included part of downtown Nashville’s skyline to make the sticker more personal to Nashville voters.” 

City officials joined Milka’s principal and teacher in contributing to a video to congratulate Negasi and celebrate her design. (See below for video announcement featuring Mayor John Cooper, Metro Arts Executive Director Caroline Vincent, Davidson County Administrator of Elections Jeff Roberts, Metro Nashville Public Schools Director Dr. Adrienne Battle, Hume-Fogg Principal Dr. Kellie Hargis, and Hume-Fogg art teacher Shayna Snider.)

Video Link to Winner Announcement

About the “I Voted” Student Sticker Contest

On Feb. 25, 2020, Metro Arts and the Davidson County Election Commission announced the “I Voted” student sticker contest for Davidson County students in grade 7-12. Entries were accepted online, by mail, and for a short time before pandemic closures, at dropboxes in select Nashville Public Library teen areas. In total, Metro Arts received 75 entries from students at public, private and homeschools across Davidson County. A citizen selection panel narrowed the field to eight finalists, from which voters chose their favorite online. Metro Arts limited voting to one vote per Davidson County resident. Voting closed Sunday, May 31, with a total of 2,363 votes cast. The contest is funded through a grant to Metro Arts from the Tennessee Arts Commission.

About Student Winner Milka Negasi

Milka Negasi is a rising senior at Nashville’s Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School. She credits her art teacher, Shayna Snider, with informing her of the “I Voted” student sticker contest and encouraging her to enter. Although Milka does not wish to be interviewed by the press, she has provided photos (attached) and answers to questions (below).

Other Finalists

Students were permitted to enter up to three designs each, and two finalists, including Milka, had multiple designs among the eight finalists.

The other students with finalist entries were:

  • Annika Dichtl, Martin Luther King, Jr. Academic Magnet School
  • Eleanor Taylor, Harpeth Hall School
  • Colsyn Whittaker, Rose Park Magnet Middle School
  • Sarah Vallejo, Harpeth Hall School

Questions and Answers with Milka Negasi

Question: Tell us about what inspired the design of this sticker.

Answer: Naturally, when I read that the sticker contest was being held in honor of the centennial of the 19th amendment, I wanted to make it very clear to voters of this extremely special anniversary. I made sure to utilize the colors of the Women’s suffrage movement, purple, yellow, and white, but also kept true to the colors of the traditional “I Voted” sticker. I thought it was important to represent all the women who have played a part in history and who are playing a part in our future. And of course, I included part of downtown Nashville’s skyline to make the sticker more personal to Nashville voters.

Question: You learned about the competition from your art teacher. Tell us about the role of your art teacher, and art(s) in general, in your school life.

Answer: Mrs. Snider is an amazing art teacher who is very encouraging and down-to-earth. She wants all of her students to try their best and simply improve regardless of their skill level. I’ve learned so many useful skills from her class and I always enjoy spending time creating art in her classroom. Outside of the art room, I also love being able to incorporate creativity and artistry into my other class assignments if possible! 

Question: Can you tell us a bit about your family? How did they influence your views on the importance of voting? On the importance of art?

Answer: I have four siblings and two hard-working parents. My older brother and father have always taken an interest in politics, so they have definitely played a part in showing me the significance of being aware of issues that are occurring across the country and how voting plays a vital role in finding solutions. When it comes to art, my twin sister, Milen, and I have always shared a great interest in creating art since we were younger, so she has been my go-to person to share my love of art with.

Question: Why do you think this particular design resonated so deeply with voters?

Answer: I think those who voted for my design appreciated the representation and the modern touch to the sticker. It shows the importance of all women in the voting process and how the inclusion of these voices is absolutely fundamental to initiating the representation people would like to see in political elections and pushing for the right changes in policy. Also, the addition of the Nashville landscape is a detail that I think connected with the voters and helped set the scene for any Nashville resident! And also a big thank you to all those who voted!

Question: What subjects do you most enjoy in school?

Answer: I enjoy taking different science classes, for example, AP Biology and AP Chemistry, though they have been challenging at times. Taking art classes has also been very fun, and I am super excited to be taking some more in my senior year.

Question: You’re starting your senior year this fall. What are you looking forward to? Are you excited to register to vote? 

Answer: I’m looking forward to taking some more classes I’m interested in and spending some time with the graduating class for the final time. Sadly, I won’t be 18 by the time of the November elections, so I will not be able to register to vote. But I’m looking forward to seeing some of my fellow classmates cast their vote!

Question: Do you know your plans yet for beyond high school? Would you like to share them with us?

Answer: Certainly, I plan on going to college after high school, though I’m not sure which one as of now. However, I’m hoping that I will be able to bring in some art wherever I go and whatever I plan to do in the future!

About Metro Arts

Metro Arts is the Nashville Office of Arts + Culture. Our mission is to drive a vibrant and equitable community through the arts. Metro Arts strives to ensure that all Nashvillians have access to a creative life, and we work toward this goal through community investments, artist and organizational training, public art and creative placemaking, and direct programs involving residents in all forms of arts and culture. Metro Arts receives operational support from the Tennessee Arts Commission, and additional information is available online at MetroArtsNashville.com.

About the Davidson County Election Commission

The Davidson County Election Commission is responsible for providing free and fair elections to every eligible citizen. The Election Commission is regulated by State of Tennessee law and funded by Metro Nashville government. For more information, visit www.nashville.gov/vote.