Early voting in the governor race here is surging as rumors swirl online that employers are pressuring workers to vote for certain candidates and provide photographic evidence of their choices at the ballot box. Some Internet users have posted allegations of such interference, including pictures, prompting alarmed lawyers in Okinawa Prefecture to call on the prefectural election administration committee to impose a ban on taking photographs inside polling stations. “It is a grave situation violating freedom of voting and ballot secrecy,” one of the lawyers said.
The committee on Sept. 20 informed municipal committees that they may intervene to stop voters photographing their ballots with smartphones and other devices if such actions are thought to cause trouble.
No clear provisions exist concerning voters taking images of their own ballots under the Public Offices Election Law, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.