As millions head to the voting booth on November 8, 2016, voters of all ages will try to pose with their ballot for voting selfies. The upcoming election has gotten people excited to vote for several different reasons. Some people are voting for to hope their candidate will win. Others are regular voters who have always undertaken in their civil duty to vote for their favorite candidates. And many are voting for the first time!
Additionally, more people are starting to vote early. Recently, Justin Timberlake made news because he violated Tennessee law when he took a picture of himself in the voting booth. Even though many Americans are excited to cast their ballot, they should definitely refrain from taking selfies in the voting booth or they may be punished criminally for this.
Illinois law on voting selfies
In Illinois, the law says anyone who photographs a ballot or someone voting, in a way where it can be seen by others, could be punished with one to three years in prison. If a voter takes a photograph in the booth and then posts it on Facebook, the voter could be in a lot of trouble. While there have not been any problems yet with photos in the polling place, counties across Illinois are told that they have to report questionable photos to state officials if any photos arise. The best thing to do is to keep your phone in your pocket while you are in the booth to avoid voting selfies.
Also remember that in addition to the national elections, in Illinois, you vote for judges. The Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. provides you links to guidance to help you through the process.
Where is the safest place to take a selfie at the polling place?
If you want to share your experience on Instagram, taking your voting selfies outside of the polling place with you “I Voted” sticker. There are several different opportunities to let the world know that you are voting outside of the polling place since there are signs and flags stating “polling place” and “vote here.” This will allow you to express to the world that you are thrilled about voting and hopefully will encourage other people to vote as well.
Have any cases like this made it to court?
Yes, in California, the court upheld the ban on voters taking voting selfies of their ballot. The ACLU challenged a century-old law disallowing people to take photos of ballots, alleging a free speech violation. The judge fount it unnecessary to change a longstanding law that would require thousands of workers to be retrained, especially since changing the law allowing selfie sticks does not affect votes. This suit came a week after Justin Timberlake violated the Tennessee law when he took a picture of himself in the voting booth.
The ACLU is unsure if they will appeal the decision of the California District Court so close to the election. Meanwhile, Judges in Indiana and New Hampshire ruled against bans on selfies in the voting booth. Additionally, litigants filed a pending lawsuit challenging New York’s ban.
Where else are voting selfies illegal?
There are several states that explicitly have laws against taking a photo inside of the voting booth. Here is a list of states where it is illegal to take a selfie while you vote:
- North Carolina
- West Virginia
Where is it a violation to show your completed ballot?
In the following states, it is against the law to show your completed ballot:
- New York
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- New Jersey
- New Mexico