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Overview

Since 2014, the worry of “ballot selfies” has been a hot one in legislatures.

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Should voters have the ability to photograph your ballots and post castle on social media—or not?

The best to cast a mystery ballot has actually been a mainstay of the U.S. System of governance for the last hundred years. Voting in secret, as opposed come a voice vote that was much more common in the early part of U.S. History, guards versus coercion and bribery. And also yet, “ballot selfies,” whereby voters take it a picture of your voted ballots and also share castle on internet sites, have actually caused the secrecy worry to resurface.

According to a recent study, 44 states have constitutional provisions that guarantee secrecy in voting, and also the remaining states have actually statutory provisions to do so. In addition to expressly calling for a mystery ballot, end time plenty of states have additionally seen reasons to prohibit or limit the use of cameras in polling places. These have actually been enacted both to defend the privacy of voter and also to limit disturbances in the polling place.

In the last 10 years, the arrival of society media and also cell phones v cameras have actually proved a challenge for state legislations on limiting photography in the polling place, in large part due to the fact that the photos have the right to lead come the disclosure of exactly how an separation, personal, instance voter voted. And that bring up the inquiry of coercion and bribery.

The to explode of social media and also “selfie” society has additionally challenged the classic thinking that voters have to not disclose exactly how they voted. Countless young people, who share everything on social media, discover it logical that they should have the ability to share a picture of your voted ballot v friends and also followers. “Get-out-the-vote” organizations additionally find posting this “ballot selfies” to be a motivating factor for younger civilization to get involved in the vote process.

The competing desires of voter to re-publishing ballot selfies, and election officials to preserve an orderly polling place totally free of avenues for bribery or coercion, have brought this issue to the desks of state legislators in current years.

Most prominently, new Hampshire happen a law specifically prohibiting ballot selfies in 2014. Like countless states, brand-new Hampshire currently prohibited voter from expose their marked ballot. The 2014 law (HB 366) took it a step more by clearly prohibiting voters from taking a digital photo of a marked ballot and also distributing or share it on society media.

The regulation was tested in commonwealth court and ruled unconstitutional, together it to be a violation that the first Amendment best to totally free speech. The court concluded that the ballot take self is constitutionally protected political speech that can be limited only by meeting the highest possible standard of constitutional scrutiny. The commonwealth district court concluded that since the State of brand-new Hampshire could not prove any specific instances of vote buying, voter coercion, or various other frauds connected to ballot selfies, the federal government did not have actually a compelling federal government interest in restricting the acts. Since the ballot selfie was organized to be politics speech, it as such commands the very same constitutional protection required of other first Amendment rights.

In September that 2016, the joined States first Circuit Court the Appeals, based in Boston, heard brand-new Hampshire’s very nice of the reduced court ruling. The appeal showed unsuccessful for new Hampshire. The very first Circuit upheld the reduced court ruling, compare the brand-new Hampshire law’s way of staying clear of voter fraud come “burning down the home to roast the pig.”

State policies on Ballot Selfies

As a result of the judgment on the brand-new Hampshire case and also of ingredient bringing the concern to their attention, number of state legislatures have actually examined the problem and/or passed regulation in the last couple of years. Many of these have aimed in ~ permitting ballot selfies, but a few put some limitations on them. Courts have been active in some instances as well.

Examples of states permitting ballot selfies:Examples the state policies restricting ballot selfies:Texas legislation (Tex. Election code § 61.014) bars wireless communication and recording tools within 100 feet of the polling station, for this reason selfies space not allowed.

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For information from additional states check out The connected Press survey of state plans on ballot selfies, performed prior to the 2016 Presidential Election.

Other options for developing Voter Engagement

If among the goals of posting ballot self is to foster vote engagement, part states and local jurisdictions have uncovered ways come encourage the usage of photos and also social media without disrupting a polling place or infringing ~ above a voter’s secret ballot. Because that example:

Taking a photo with an “I Voted” sticker. Georgia has actually a “Post the Peach” project to encourage civilization to take a photo wearing the “I’m a Georgia Voter” sticker through a peach in the background.Taking a selfie beside a “Vote Here” sign. This has been motivated by officials in Iowa together a good alternative to posting ballot selfies.Posing beside an “I Voted” sign. The Tennessee Secretary the State’s Office motivated voters to publish off a “I vote – have You?” sign and also post image on society meeting using #GoVoteTN.

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