Is it legal to photograph and share a copy of your voting ballot online? The answer depends on a bunch of things, including what state you're in, whether you've completed the ballot, and whether you actually bring your mobile device into the voting booth. The law varies widely.
In Washington, DC, you can indeed legally "instagram the vote." Like this fellow did.
But elsewhere, doing what he did is against the law and may make it so that your vote cannot be counted.
The Citizen Media Law Project reports that in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina, Texas and West Virginia, there are laws banning photography or videography in polling places.
In North Carolina, the law is even more restrictive: the basic idea seems to be no smartphones in the voting booth
The idea is that photographing your ballot nullifies the whole secret ballot principle, but there's also an applicable North Carolina law that attempts to prevent people contacting other people for direction on how to vote. One could certainly do that with a smartphone in the booth.
“This being the 21st century and me having a notoriously short memory, I wrote my choices down on my smartphone,” one man told a local TV news reporter via email.
When he got into the voting booth, he took out his iPhone to consult his list. But before he even opened his notes, he says, a poll worker was at his side, insisting he would have to put the phone away before he would be allowed to complete his ballot.
“After attempting to recall from memory my choices for Council of State and judge positions to no success, I felt like I was being denied my right to vote because I was not allowed to use my smart phone,” said Bell.
Angry and frustrated, Bell says he told election officials he wanted to withdraw his ballot until he could memorize the candidates he wanted to support.
In Ohio, generally smartphones are allowed in the voting booth.
Snip from Dayton Daily News:
Ohio law allows voters to use tablets or smartphones in polling places, said Matt McClellan, spokesman for Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.
“You could go in with your phone and use that if you have a slate card or a list of how you want to vote,” McClellan said.
Election officials in Montgomery, Greene, Warren, Clark and Butler counties said they will allow the use of smartphone and tablet slate cards in the voting booth, with some limitations. Voters will be asked to silence their cell phones, and will be prohibited from using them for telephone conversations or taking photographs at polling locations.
“You want an informed voter,” said Llyn McCoy, Greene County Board of Elections deputy director. “If this is how they are getting their information and they are taking it in so they vote the way they want to, I think it is a great thing.”
Gizmodo has an extensive list of laws by state. And ProPublica has more context.
For examples of people being really dumb and boasting about their vote by instagramming their ballot, I suggest you use instagram's "explore" feature and search for #vote #voted #voting or #ballot.
(Thanks, Aileen Graef!)
You know how people like to go vote, then walk around for the rest of the day/week/forever with an “I Voted” sticker on their lapel? Millions of people like to Snapchat their lives online, and they’d like to snapchat “I Voted” with voting booth selfies. Just one problem. Taking pictures of your ballot is illegal […]
Ben Kraft teaches a unit on gerrymandering — rigging electoral districts to ensure that one party always wins — to high school kids in his open MIT Educational Studies Program course. As he describes the problem and his teaching methodology, I learned that district-boundaries have a lot more subtlety and complexity than I’d imagined at […]
The Chamber has spent $32 million in dark money from undisclosed donors, 96% of which has gone to oppose Democratic congressional candidates, according to a new Public Citizen report. Average spending topped $900,000 per race.
Having to pack and drag your stuff through security can put quite the damper on your vacation plans. Thankfully, we’ve got your back with one way to make traveling more painless: the Jumper Overnighter Travel Bag.This compact bag is so lightweight that you can effortlessly carry it, and fit it into any overhead compartment. But just […]
Learning is a 24/7/365 proposition, and it never ends. And if you’re truly serious about leveling up your skill sets and career prospects, get a subscription to Stone River Academy’s massive course collection. This offer normally is worth over $1,400, but is now available for just $89 in the Boing Boing Store.A respected name in information technology […]
Home audio has taken some big leaps forward in recent years–not just in terms of sound quality, but also in the style department. The FRESHeBAR Leather Soundbar, now 56% off in the Boing Boing Store, is proof.The FRESHeBAR comes packing almost all the options you’d ever need for a home sound system, including Bluetooth streaming capabilities.The unit’s 90 […]