A bill to legalize ballot selfies passed a Colorado House Committee Wednesday evening. House Bill 1014 would allow people to take selfies with their completed ballot and share it on social media, which proponents say would encourage voting and allow the exercise of First Amendment rights. “Believe it or not showing someone your completed ballot and taking a photo of it and posting it on social media is currently a crime in Colorado,” said Democratic Rep. Paul Rosenthal of Denver and Republican Rep. Dave Williams of Colorado Springs. The crime is a misdemeanor with a fine up to $1,000 and up to a year in jail, though no one can recall anyone who has ever been charged with the offense in Colorado. “I know this made sense 100 years when corruption was rampant but it does not make sense today,” Rosenthal said.
The bill passed the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, 8-1, with Rep. Tim Leonard, a Republican from Evergreen, as the only member in opposition.
The law dates back to 1891. It was updated in 1980. The idea was to keep people who sold their vote from taking a picture as proof for the buyer.
The issue already has been to court. In November U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello ruled the law was confusing and unenforceable in a suit brought by state Sen. Owen Hill of Colorado Springs. Arguello left it to legislators to decide whether to leave the antiquated law on the books, however. Last fall, the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office defended the state law blocking ballot selfies because it’s required to defend state laws.