Art students at Salem High School (SHS) have the opportunity to submit a design for a new “I voted” sticker between Jan. 3 and Feb. 3. The winning design will be distributed to local voters in Dent County during the April 2022 municipal election and will also be used during elections in 2022 and 2023.

Once the designs are submitted, a panel composed of SHS art teachers Angela Dingess and Makayla Schafer as well as County Clerk Angie Curley and deputy clerks Crystal Pilkington and Melissa Piatt will select finalists.

Beginning Feb. 9, Dent County residents will have the opportunity to stop by the Dent County courthouse and vote for their favorite “I voted” sticker until Feb. 23.

The winner will be determined Feb. 25.

“Instead of buying the generic stickers, I decided that it would be a good idea to host the county’s first “I voted” sticker competition,” Dent County Clerk Angie Curley told The Salem News. “We wanted to get the youth involved in the election process by using their creative talents,” she said.

Curley said that she first heard of other Missouri counties holding similar competitions during a Missouri County Clerks Association meeting. Dent is not the first county in Missouri to hold this sort of competition, but this will mark the first time Dent County has had a competition for designing an “I voted” sticker.

Curley said that she knows of at least three other counties that have “I voted” sticker competitions including, Cape Girardeau, Boone, and Cooper counties.

The Cape Girardeau county clerk’s office assisted Curley in drafting the Dent County competition’s official rules, according to Curley.

Curley said that when she first reached out to SHS art teachers Angela Dingess and Makayla Schafer that they were quite receptive.

“When I called them, they were eager,” said Curley.

Curley said that she is optimistic about student response to the competition as well.

“It seemed like when I went to speak to the students that they were excited,” she said.

The winner’s artwork design will be used as the official “I voted” sticker of Dent County through 2023 and will be offered to all voters who cast ballots.

The winner, first runner up, and second runner up will each have their name and a copy of their artwork on display at each polling location in Dent County.

Curley said that the county also plans to include their names and artwork on media outlets such as radio and newspaper, and their respective social media platforms.

Each participating student must fill out an official entry form with their art submission by Feb. 3 to be eligible. The rules have been provided in detail to SHS art students.

Curley indicated that she hopes that finalists tell friends and family about the competition and ask them to vote for their work.