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Icon's Grave Gets Protection From Election Tributes

'I Voted' stickers are hard on Susan B. Anthony's gravestone
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2020 2:50 PM CDT

(Newser) – Susan B. Anthony remains an inspiration, but her headstone just can't take an Election Day honor anymore. Visitors to the cemetery in Rochester, New York, where the suffragette is buried often leave "I Voted" stickers behind. Adhesive residue and solvents that were employed to remove the stickers have damaged the marble headstone, a restoration project earlier this year discovered. Solution? Anthony's headstone has been covered in clear plastic in time for this year's election, the Democrat & Chronicle reports. The stickers can go on the plastic, which will be changed as it becomes covered. The head of the nonprofit friends of the cemetery group said that "above all, we wanted to protect this iconic gravesite."

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Anthony's law-breaking vote in 1872 was a milestone in the drive for women's suffrage, but the sticker tribute didn't take off until 2016, per the Hill. About 12,000 people went to Mount Hope Cemetery then to mark the first time the ballot included a woman, Hillary Clinton, as a presidential nominee of a major party. Stickers also appeared after the 2018 midterm elections. Anthony died in 1906, before the women's right to vote was added to the Constitution; this year is the 200th anniversary of her birth. Although the stickers and gatherings can be seen as a celebration, the cemetery group pointed out that the grave isn't a public memorial, and "many people considered this to be a desecration of a family gravestone." (Read more Susan B Anthony stories.)

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