A federal appeals court on Wednesday soundly struck down New Hampshire’s ban on ballot selfies concluding it restricted innocent, political speech in the pursuit of what the judges called an “unsubstantiated and hypothetical danger” of vote-buying. A three-judge panel unanimously concluded that the state’s 2014 ban was unconstitutionally over broad. “The ballot selfie prohibition is like burning down the house to roast the pig,” wrote Judge Sandra Lynch in a 22-page decision. The state will now weigh its options, which include appealing this case to the U.S. Supreme Court, Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan said. “We’ll probably have a better idea later Thursday about how we proceed from here,” Scanlan said.
Two years ago, New Hampshire became the first state in the nation to make it against the law for a voter to take a digital picture of a completed ballot and then post it on social media. Anyone found guilty could pay a fine of up to $1,000.
In response, lawmakers in Indiana adopted a similar provision; a federal court in that state has temporarily blocked it from being applied.
Several states, including Rhode Island and California, have since adopted laws expressly permitting this activity.