Assemblyman Marc Levine is proposing turning the secret ballot into the social ballot in California. On election eve, Levine, D-San Rafael, announced he will shortly introduce legislation to legalize the taking of “ballot selfies” — digital images of completed ballots taken in the privacy of the voting booth. “I’ve been taking ballot selfies since I began taking my children to the polls with me,” Levine said. “I and many of my friends share our ballots on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as we vote at home or are at a voting booth.” Voters’ motivations for taking ballot selfies can vary, Levine said. “It can be because they’re supporting a specific candidate, or it can be just to share the experience that they voted and that this is an important thing for Californians to do. It can be the social media version of the voting sticker, showing that you voted.”
Levine said when he discovered that California election code effectively prohibits ballot selfies and that some states around the nation were passing new laws to explicitly prohibit them, he became concerned. “We see voter participation is at all-time lows,” he said. “We need to do everything we can to encourage civic participation.”
Marin County Registrar of Voters Lynda Roberts said she wasn’t sure if California law permits ballot selfies. “That is something that I would have research,” Roberts said.
Several sections of California law, however, appear to prohibit such electoral unabashedness. For example, section 1491 of the Election Code states, “After the ballot is marked, a voter shall not show it to any person in such a way as to reveal its contents.”