People who place their ‘I Voted’ stickers on Susan B. Anthony’s headstone will notice something different there this year

For years, it’s been a local tradition: Sticking “I Voted” stickers in Susan B. Anthony’s grave.

But this year, things are going to look a little different at Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York, where Anthony’s grave is situated.

The grave will be covered in plastic to protect it from being damaged, cemetery officials said.

“We were faced with a dilemma,” Patricia Corcoran, president of Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery, wrote in a statement on October 23. “On one hand putting a sticker on her gravestone can be seen as a patriotic gesture, a way of celebrating the life of Miss Anthony and thanking her for her efforts to get women the right to vote. On the other hand many people considered this to be a desecration of a family gravestone, because a gravestone is private property. People interested in historic restoration believed that the stone was being irrefutably damaged.”

As a result, the 10 Anthony Family Stones — including Susan B.’s — were cleaned by a historical restoration company. Because the stone is so old, it needed to be handled with care, and the residue from the stickers had accumulated so much that it was “potentially dangerous to such an old and fragile stone,” according to a statement from the cemetery.

So on October 23, the day before in-person voting began in New York, plastic covers were installed — upholding the tradition while also protecting the gravestone.

With this year marking 100 years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment, the grave has been getting a lot of attention. Corcoran called it a “touching experience.”

“There were families, senior citizens, young couples, friends – a true cross section of our community,” she said in a statement on October 25. “I could imagine Miss Anthony and all the many women and men who fought so long for women’s suffrage smiling down on all these people at Susan B. Anthony’s gravesite. It was truly a vision of hope and optimism.”

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