Ballot Selfies Illegal?

Election day 2016 is in sight and ballot selfies are challenging the ban against them. Ballot selfies are people taking pictures of themselves in front of their completed ballot meant to state their political view. Approximately 78% of the U.S population is on social media on one platform or more. We are people who share our lives, views and opinions with communication to the world at the tips of our fingers.

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Screenshot Curtsey of: TMZ

Recently Justin Timberlake flew into Memphis to vote and captured it in a ballot selfie, which was quickly removed from Instagram and Twitter after a supposed investigation against him. Knowing this may be considered a violation of free speech the local prosecutors did not pursue the matter.

The free speech law was made to allow citizens to express their views and opinions including original posts on social media. Not allowing citizens who are doing their civil duty of voting should be a clear violation of the first amendment. Unfortunately, not every state has evolved their laws to correspond with the social media age where citizens like to voice their opinions.

There are currently nineteen states that outlaw pictures of a completed ballot with penalties varying from fines to jail time. Reasoning for outlawing pictures of ballots range from protecting the privacy of other voters, voter intimidation and coercion. Their reasoning is valid in certain polling site cases but why are photos with mail-in votes also consider illegal in those states?

So when you hit the polls on November 8th, if you haven’t already, and live in the following states do not post a ballot selfie:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Regardless of what state you are in and have not yet casted your vote be sure to hit up the polls and let your voice be heard! It is your civil duty to participate in elections and it gives you the right to complain if Donald Trump (or the candidate you were not in favor of) wins.

Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism