Jonathan Spear barely made it to the polls in Hampton before they closed at 8 p.m. on Tuesday. He filled out his ballot and voted for all Republicans, with one exception: He just couldn’t bring himself to vote for Scott Brown. Instead, he wrote in the name of Revolutionary War Gen. John Stark. When he was done, he snapped a photo of himself inside the voting booth holding his completed ballot, a quick ballot selfie. Then, he decided to commit a crime – he posted the photo on Twitter. And Spear knew exactly what he was doing. “It’s a stupid law, and I don’t agree with it,” he said. “I’ve always been a bit of a rebel, and nothing beats a little civil disobedience to get your point across.” State law says it’s illegal to show another person your ballot, including through social media.
“No voter shall allow his or her ballot to be seen by any person with the intention of letting it be known how he or she is about to vote or how he or she has voted,” RSA 659:35 says. “This prohibition shall include taking a digital image or photograph of his or her marked ballot and distributing or sharing the image via social media or by any other means.”
The Legislature changed the law last session, adding the “social media” part. It has been illegal to show your ballot to someone else for a long time, but questions came up about the law after people started posting photos of their completed ballots online.
During September’s primary, a few people, including Lancaster Republican state Rep. Leon Rideout, intentionally posted photos of their ballots to challenge the law.