Eager to snap and post an online photo of your Michigan ballot in the Nov. 6 election? Think again. A legal dispute over photos in polling places still hasn’t reached the finish line, more than two years later. A millennial voter from the Kalamazoo area, Joel Crookston, filed a lawsuit deep in the 2016 election season to try to stop Michigan’s ban on taking photos of marked ballots or publicly exposing them. A violation can disqualify a ballot. U.S. District Judge Janet Neff granted an injunction, clearing the way for so-called ballot selfies. But a higher court stepped in and said the sudden change just days before the Trump-Clinton election would be a “recipe for election-day confusion for voters and poll workers alike.”Full Article: 2-plus years later, lawsuit over ballot selfies not over.
Oklahoma will not be the latest state to allow voters to take selfies with their ballots, after Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed a bill this week that would’ve legalized the seemingly innocuous, but controversial practice. Fallin, a Republican, declined to sign a bill that would’ve allowed Oklahomans to take photos of their marked ballots, from either an absentee form or a voting booth, and share the images on social media. So-called “ballot selfies” have become increasingly popular over the past several election cycles, but ballot-security experts and elections officials in some states have become increasingly wary of the images’ potential to be abused.Full Article: Bill allowing 'ballot selfies' vetoed by Oklahoma governor.
A federal judge on Thursday rejected a constitutional challenge to a New York state law barring voters from taking photographs of their marked ballots, known as “ballot selfies,” so they could post them on social media websites. U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel in Manhattan also upheld the constitutionality of a New York City Board of Elections policy barring photography at city polling places. Rejecting free speech challenges under the First Amendment, Castel said the state law was “narrowly tailored” to help thwart fraud and ensure the integrity of the election process, while the city policy was a reasonable means to limit delays at the ballot box. The judge issued his 41-page decision one month after a two-day, non-jury trial.Full Article: New York 'ballot selfie' law survives court challenge.
Voters in Tennessee got one step closer Thursday to being able to take a selfie inside a voting booth at the next election. The Senate voted 30-0 in favor of a bill that would allow voters to take photos in a voting booth as long as they don’t take a picture of their ballot, use a flash or noise on their phones or take photos of others. The issue gained national attention last year when Justin Timberlake sparked debate over a little-known state law after he shared a selfie on Instagram that showed him casting his ballot at a church in Germantown, near Memphis.Full Article: Justin Timberlake selfie bill gets OK from Tennessee Senate.
New Hampshire: U.S. Supreme Court declines to review ruling striking down ban on ‘ballot selfies’ | Union Leader
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review lower court rulings striking down New Hampshire’s ban on “ballot selfies.” The American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire challenged the state’s ban on “ballot selfies,” a prohibition of a voter taking a photo of their marked ballots and posting on social media to show how they voted, in 2014. Lower courts sided with the ACLU and three voters in the Granite State on the grounds of free speech. The ACLU represented former Rep. Leon H. Rideout, Andrew Langlois, and Brandon D. Ross, in the suit against Secretary of State William Gardner. Rideout said Monday the state was overreacting to new technology and social media. “I’m actually kind of surprised it went this far,” he said.Full Article: High court declines to review ruling striking down NH's ban on 'ballot selfies' | New Hampshire.
The ban on so-called ‘ballot selfies’ in Michigan is resurfacing with the introduction of a new proposal that would allow voters to use their cell phones or other cameras to take pictures of their ballots or themselves with their ballots in a polling place. Rep. Steve Johnson, R-Wayland, introduced the proposal which has bi-partisan support in the Legislature. “Around the country, people increasingly are sharing pictures of their ballot as a way to show support for candidates and issues,” Johnson said in a statement, adding that 20 other states currently allow ‘ballot selfies.’Full Article: ‘Ballot selfie’ battle resurfaces in Michigan with proposal to allow them | Fox17.
It soon could be legal to post selfies of marked ballots in Alaska. The state House on Wednesday passed legislation, 32-8, that would allow voters to share photos, videos or other images of their marked ballots with the public. They could not, however, show videos or images of their or another person’s marked ballot while in a polling place or within 200 feet of one in an attempt to get someone to vote a certain way. “People have new forms of digital expression whether it’s through social media, Facebook and Twitter or texting photos and Snapchat,” said Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, who co-sponsored the bill, CBS affiliate KTVA reports. Kreiss-Tompkins said that the Division of Elections receives a multitude of phone calls after each election cycle from Alaskans who fear they will be prosecuted for breaking state law because of a picture posted.Full Article: Ballot selfies in Alaska closer to becoming reality - CBS News.
Legislators are considering a bill this winter to clarify that someone voting in Alaska can post an online photo with their ballot. That’s currently not allowed under state law. Sitka democratic representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins sponsored House bill 7. His legislative intern Alicia Norton testified on the bill’ behalf in front of the House Community and Regional Affairs committee this month. “HB 7 is a ballot selfie bill which would allow a person to take a photo with their marked ballot and post it online,” Norton explained. “It’s currently illegal in Alaska but it’s not a heavily enforced law. And it’s just changing some language.” Kreiss Tomkins’ sponsor statement for the bill says ballot selfies have become a common way to express support for a candidate, a cause, or the act of voting itself.Full Article: Ballot selfies bill moves in the Alaska House | KFSK.
In Alaska it’s illegal to “exhibit” a picture of a marked ballot. Sharing a ballot selfie isn’t a criminal offense as in some states, but it is technically grounds for invalidating that vote. Now, Alaska may be joining 22 other states who have legalized ballot selfies as a form of political speech. On Oct. 27, 2016, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin expressed her support for presidential candidate Donald Trump by posting a picture of her ballot on Facebook. The picture got 17,000 reactions, 560 shares and 616 comments. It also generated news articles questioning whether Palin had violated state law.Full Article: Lawmakers consider protecting 'ballot selfies' as part of free speech.
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.Full Article: Ballot selfies in Colorado one step closer to legalization | Colorado Springs Gazette, News.
New Hampshire: Attorney General seeks high court review of rulings against ‘ballot selfie’ ban | Union Leader
The state Attorney General’s office has officially asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review lower court rulings striking down a New Hampshire ban on “ballot selfies.” The petition for writ of certiorari, filed two days after Christmas, comes as state legislators are considering a bill to reverse the 2014 law that prohibited a voter from taking a photo of their marked ballot and posting it online. The ban is clearly unconstitutional, as the U.S. District Court found in 2015, which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed last September, said Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, R-Manchester, the prime sponsor of the bill to wipe the “ballot selfie” ban off the books.Full Article: AG seeks high court review of rulings against 'ballot selfie' ban | New Hampshire.
Missouri could soon join at least 20 other states where it is legal to take a selfie in the voting booth. Two state lawmakers have introduced legislation that would alter Missouri voting rules, paving the way for people to publicly post pictures of themselves and their ballots without fear of prosecution. “Everybody takes selfies of everything,” said Rep. Charlie Davis, R-Webb City. “Why should someone not be able to exercise their First Amendment rights?” Davis has introduced House Bill 315, which eliminates 27 words in the election code that could be used to prosecute people taking selfies after they vote. Rep. Travis Fitzwater, R-Holts Summit, has introduced an identical version of the measure in House Bill 249. The proposals come after an election cycle in which questions were raised about the legality of taking ballot selfies across the nation.
A 2015 law banning ballot box selfies does not violate Tennessee voters’ free speech rights, according to a formal opinion issued by the Tennessee attorney general. But the Memphis lawmaker who sought the opinion says he hopes to overturn the law after legislators reconvene in January. Justin Timberlake sparked debate over the little-known law in October, when he shared a selfie with 39 million-plus Instagram followers that showed him casting his ballot at the New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Germantown, near Memphis. Timberlake, who lives in California but recently bought property near Nashville, said he had no idea he was doing anything illegal.Full Article: Attorney general: Ballot box selfie ban constitutional.
The law is the law, no selfies allowed at the polls in California. That’s what a US district judge ruled Wednesday, rejecting the American Civil Liberties Union’s request for an injunction lifting the state’s ban on voters taking selfies of their ballot. The ACLU said the more than century-old law banning cameras at the polls violate voters’ freedom of speech. Nope, California voters still won’t be able to take these kinds of selfies at ballots such as this guy in Wisconsin two years ago. But Judge William Alsup took less than two hours to reach his decision, chastising the ACLU for filing a lawsuit Monday in federal court in San Francisco claiming voters’ First Amendment rights are being denied from expressing their political positions — with Election Day less than a week away.Full Article: Judge upholds California ban on voters taking selfies of ballot - CNET.
A 125-year-old Colorado law aimed at discouraging vote swapping for whiskey and pig feet is now at the center of a high-tech freedom of expression case involving cellphone ballot selfies. An attorney for Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey on Wednesday told U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello that Morrissey will not enforce the law despite the fact his office posted a news release on its official website warning people that it is illegal to post ballot selfies in Colorado. “There is no threat of a possible prosecution. …There is no intent by the DA’s office to chill free speech,” Andrew Ringel, Morrissey’s attorney, said in a hearing in U.S. District Court in Denver. But Arguello asked how Morrissey’s Oct. 20 warning that he issued to the media wouldn’t chill free speech.Full Article: Federal judge considers blocking Colorado law that bans ballot selfies – The Denver Post.
Ballot selfies are currently not allowed in Michigan following a 2-1 decision by a federal appeals court. The decision reverses an earlier one this week from a lower court that said ballot selfies would be allowed, when a judge granted a preliminary injunction of Michigan’s law that banned photographs of voter ballots. “Timing is everything,” the Friday, Oct. 28, order authored by Jeffrey S. Sutton and joined by Ralph B. Guy Jr. states. “Crookston’s motion and complaint raise interesting First Amendment issues, and he will have an opportunity to litigate them in full—after this election.” “With just ten days before the November 2016 election, however, we will not accept his invitation to suddenly alter Michigan’s venerable voting protocols, especially when he could have filed this lawsuit long ago,” the order states.Full Article: Ballot selfies not allowed in Michigan, federal appeals court rules | MLive.com.
A trio of New Yorkers are suing the Board of Elections in hopes of making it perfectly legal to snap a selfie in a voting booth — which is a big no-no in the Empire State and elsewhere around the country. The suit, filed Wednesday in Manhattan federal court, argues that “ballot selfies” — or the act of taking a photo with a ballot and then publishing it on social media — should be allowed on election day because they are a valid expression of one’s first amendment rights. “What they want to be able to do is show the photographs to their Facebook friends and Twitter followers,” the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Leo Glickman, told The Post.Full Article: New Yorkers sue for the right to take ‘ballot selfies’ | New York Post.
Voting is democracy’s most fundamental right and responsibility and recent federal court rulings say you have a constitutional right to post photographs of yourself doing it. More than a dozen states have laws on the books that bar voters from photographing their ballots or even showing their ballot to another person. In the era of camera-equipped smartphones and social media, states have interpreted those laws to prohibit ballot selfies. Some states have gone a step farther and actually passed laws barring voters from posting photos of themselves at their polling stations. But in just the past four weeks, a federal appellate court in Boston and a federal trial judge in East Lansing have found laws prohibiting ballot selfies to violate the First Amendment’s protection of free speech.Full Article: In ballot selfie battle, free speech beats fear of voter fraud.
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.Full Article: Federal appeals court strikes down ballot selfies ban | New Hampshire.
A millennial member of the state Legislature wants to make sure it’s legal for New Jerseyans to snap a photo of their ballot in the voting booth — possibly with their face in the frame — and then post it on social media. State Assemblyman Raj Mukherji has introduced a bill (A4188) that would legalize so-called “ballot selfies.” “It’s not perfectly clear that the current statute would be interpreted to prohibit this,” the 32-year-old Mukherji (D-Hudson) told Politico New Jersey.Full Article: N.J. lawmaker wants to allow you to take a selfie in the voting booth | NJ.com.