Today on social media you’ll probably be flooded with a bunch of photos showing people in their “at the poll” fits, taking pictures with their perfectly placed “I voted” stickers and even videos showing how long they stood in line to vote.
All of that is pretty standard, but if you see a friend or loved one post a photo of their marked ballot, quickly contact them and encourage them to inquire about what their state law says about doing so. The reason? Taking a photo of your marked ballot is illegal in several states and could warrant a fine. If there’s one thing that we know the streets (and the feds) are always watching!
CNN complied a comprehensive list of what is lawful by state. Some states don’t allow photos in the polling place vicinity at all, others are more lenient.
Some celebs have even taken caution in the practice. This year actress and The View host Whoopi Goldberg filled out her New York State mail-in ballot and made sure to blur out the completed ballot in the video. Had she not, she could have been charged with a misdemeanor.
During the 2016 election singer Justin Timberlake deleted a photo of himself voting in Tennessee after realizing it was illegal to do so in the state.
The laws were adapted to ensure privacy and help quell voter intimidation. In the early 1800’s voting was more of a public event, with people vocally declaring who they voted for with an elaborate display of allegiance to their intended candidate.
However, as the years passed, voting morphed into a more secret, sacred practice of civic engagement. And with the onset of social media, some argue that vividly posting your marked ballot is a form of voter suppression and/or coercion. Others say it should be protected under free speech and helps contribute to a healthy democracy.
Whatever the case may be if you are taking photos at the polling booth, refer to the list above showing what is legal for your state.
We got this and we’re all in this together!