California: Marin’s assemblyman wants to legalize ‘ballot selfies’ in California | Marin Independent Journal

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.”

Indiana: Judge bars Indiana from enforcing ‘ballot selfie law’ | Associated Press

A federal judge Monday barred Indiana from enforcing a new law that prohibits voters from taking photos of their election ballots and sharing the images on social media. U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker issued a preliminary injunction preventing the state from enforcing the “ballot selfies law” that made it a potential felony to post photos of a marked ballot on social media. In her 20-page ruling, Barker invoked U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis’ 1928 warning that “the greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”

Indiana: Federal Court Hears Arguments Over ‘Ballot Selfie’ Law | Indiana Public Media

The ACLU says an Indiana law barring voters from taking pictures of their ballot in the voting booth violates the First Amendment, but the state is countering that the legislature is trying to prevent voter fraud. A federal court heard arguments Tuesday over the law’s constitutionality. The state offered several potential problems the so-called “ballot selfie” law seeks to prevent: taking photos of one’s ballot could help facilitate buying and selling votes. Barring pictures of a ballot could also help prevent voter intimidation and coercion. Simply put, the state argues that ballot secrecy has been vital for more than a hundred years, and the “ballot selfie” statute is a natural offshoot of an existing law that bars people from showing their ballot to others.

Indiana: ‘Ballot selfie law’ faces scrutiny from federal judge | Indianapolis Star

If you enter the voting booth this November and, as a proud voter, you snap a selfie with your ballot and share it on Facebook, you could be committing a felony. Indiana’s “ballot selfie law,” which was created by state lawmakers to prevent voter fraud, made it illegal to take such photos. Whether that law will remain in place in the upcoming municipal elections is now up to a federal judge to decide. The issue of ballot selfies reached the federal court in August when the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a lawsuit that says the new law, which took effect in July, is unconstitutional because it violates free speech rights. The ACLU of Indiana is asking U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker to issue an order that would prevent state officials from enforcing the law next month — and until the lawsuit reaches a resolution.

Maine: Did Maine open the door to selfies in the voting booth? | Bangor Daily News

When Republicans and Democrats in New Hampshire cast their presidential primary votes in February, expect some to post photos with their completed ballots to Facebook and Twitter. They’ll be celebrating a newly recognized liberty in the Granite State: the right to post a “ballot selfie.” That’s because New Hampshire lawmakers last year attempted to take that right away, passing a law barring a voter from “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.” They attached a $1,000 fine to the violation. But a federal judge last month struck down the law.

Minnesota: Secretary of State Simon sides with court: no need for ‘ballot selfie’ ban | Pioneer Press

It’s a distinctly 21st Century spin on an age-old practice: excited voters mark up their ballot on Election Day — then pull out a smartphone to take and a picture of their exercise in democracy and post it to social media. These so-called “ballot selfies” are also at the nexus of a legal debate as some states try to curtail the practice but a federal judge defends it. “It’s a fascinating debate,” said Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, the state’s election supervisor. “You really better have a good reason before you clamp down on political speech.” Under Minnesota law, ballot selfies are legal — though showing a ballot to someone else in the polling place is not. If a Minnesota voter shows their ballot to someone else in the polling place, the ballot is supposed to be invalidated. The voter can receive a new ballot unless the ballot display is judged to be “clearly intentional.”

Minnesota: Ballot selfies are debated but still legal | Pioneer Press

It’s a distinctly 21st-century spin on an age-old practice: Excited voters mark up their ballot on Election Day — then pull out a smartphone to take a picture of their exercise in democracy and post it to social media. These so-called “ballot selfies” are also at the nexus of a legal debate as some states try to curtail the practice while a federal judge defends it. “It’s a fascinating debate,” said Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, the state’s election supervisor. “You really better have a good reason before you clamp down on political speech.”

National: Selfies in Voting Booths Raise Legal Questions on Speech and Secrecy | The New York Times

People post selfies with their strawberry daiquiris and their calico kittens, with strangers and friends, with and without clothes. So it was inevitable, perhaps, that some might take photographs inside the voting booth to show off their completed ballots. Excited first-time voters; those proud to show that they voted for or against, say, President Obama; and those so disgusted that they wrote in the name of their dead dog have all been known to post snapshots of their ballots on Twitter or Facebook. Now, a legal fracas has erupted over whether the display of marked ballots is a constitutionally protected form of speech and political expression — as a federal court in New Hampshire declared this month, overturning a ban on such photographs — or a threat to the hallowed secret ballot that could bring a new era of vote-buying and voter intimidation. The New Hampshire case is unlikely to be the last to grapple with what are commonly called ballot selfies, whether they include an image of the phone user or not. Numerous states have laws to protect voter secrecy, drafted in an earlier era, that could be construed to ban ballot photographs, said Gilles Bissonnette, the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire, which challenged the New Hampshire ban.

Editorials: Why the selfie is a threat to democracy | Richard Hasen/Reuters

What could be more patriotic in our narcissistic social-media age than posting a picture of yourself on Facebook with your marked ballot for president? Show off your support for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) or former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Last week, a federal court in New Hampshire struck down that state’s ban on ballot selfies as a violation of the First Amendment right of free-speech expression. That might seem like a victory for the American Way. But the judge made a huge mistake because without the ballot-selfie ban, we could see the reemergence of the buying and selling of votes — and even potential coercion from employers, union bosses and others.

New Hampshire: Selfies — yes, selfies — just won a big political and legal victory | The Washington Post

Like most good stories, this one starts with a dog. During the 2014 New Hampshire Republican primary, a voter decided he didn’t like his options. So he wrote in the name of his recently deceased dog, snapped a pic of his ballot, and then posted it to social media. Andrew Langlois got a notice a few days later from the New Hampshire secretary of state saying he was being investigated for breaking a law — the ballot selfie law. Up until Tuesday, it was illegal in New Hampshire to take a photo of a ballot in the voting booth. But on Tuesday, a federal judge struck down the state’s 2014 ballot selfie law on the grounds it limited free political speech. “What this law ignored, and what the court recognized, is that displaying a photograph of a marked ballot on the Internet is a powerful form of political speech that conveys various constitutionally protected messages,” said Gilles Bissonnette, legal director of New Hampshire’s ACLU branch, which sued on behalf of the dog’s owner and a few other ballot selfie takers in the state.

New Hampshire: A federal judge just struck down New Hampshire’s ban on ballot selfies | Boston Globe

New Hampshire primary voters rejoice! You may once again take “ballot selfies.” A federal judge Monday repealed the Granite State’s law banning photos of filled-out election ballots, ruling that it violated the First Amendment. U.S. District Court Judge Paul Barbadoro said the law was unconstitutional, because it did not meet the standards necessary for the state to restrict political free speech. “Here, the law at issue is a content-based restriction on speech that deprives voters of one of their most powerful means of letting the world know how they voted,” Barbadoro wrote in his decision.

New Hampshire: Ballot law pits freedom of speech vs. potential voter fraud | Associated Press

A federal judge on Monday sounded dubious that a New Hampshire ban on posting photos of voter ballots online was a necessary safeguard against fraud in the information age. U.S. District Court Judge Paul Barbadoro heard arguments in a lawsuit brought by three people who are under investigation after they posted pictures of their ballots online, including one man who voted for his dead dog because he didn’t like any of the candidates. The American Civil Liberties Union took up their cause, saying the ban was an overreaching restriction on free speech. “I think there is a serious problem with a law that bans the dissemination of truthful, public speech related to a matter of public concern,” said Gilles Bissonnette, the legal director for the ACLU’s New Hampshire chapter. “This is actually a blanket ban on a certain kind of speech.”

Tennessee: Bill would ban selfies, other photos, at the polls | Knoxville News Sentinel

Ever tweeted a selfie of yourself voting? Or taken a quick photo of the long line you had to endure at the polling place, or of your child’s first visit with you to the voting booth? Did you quietly call your spouse while in line to vote to see if you need to bring home milk or bread? Or more seriously, ever recorded video of an election official challenging or denying your right to vote? Do any of those things again starting next year and you’ll violate the law under a bill nearing final legislative approval in Nashville. Both the Senate and House have approved Senate Bill 597 which says “any voter using a mobile electronic or communication device … shall be prohibited from using the device for telephone conversations, recording or taking photographs or videos while inside the polling place.”

Indiana: Bill Would Ban Election Day Photos Of Ballots On Social Media | WBAA

A 99-page clarification of Indiana voting laws could attempt to make it illegal to share a photo of your ballot on Election Day via social media. The Senate approved the bill last week. Avon Republican Senator Pete Miller says the goal is to deter campaigns from trying to buy votes and asking voters to post a photo of their ballot as proof they kept their end of the bargain.

National: ‘Ballot Selfies’ Clash With The Sanctity Of Secret Polling | NPR

From Pope Francis and President Obama to the kid down the block, we have, for better or worse, become a world full of selfie-takers. But as ubiquitous as they are, there are some places where selfies remain controversial — like the voting booth. The legal battle rages over so-called “ballot selfies” in the state that holds the first presidential primary. This may be a fight of the digital age, but according to New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, it involves a very old American ideal — the sanctity of the secret ballot. “If somebody wants to go out and say that they voted for this person or that person they can do it. They can do it, but that ballot is sacred,” he says. Gardner has been the state’s top election official since 1976. To say he views ballot selfies with suspicion would be an understatement. He backed a change in law last year that made New Hampshire the first state to ban them explicitly.

Arizona: Posting ballot photo on Facebook is now a crime; lawmaker says that needs fix | The Verde Independent

So you voted early, are proud of your choices, and want to share them with the world by putting a photo of your ballot on Facebook. Guess what? You’ve just committed a crime. Now state lawmakers are trying to get you off the hook. HB 2536 came from Rep. Paul Boyer, R-Phoenix. “I have a constituent who was threatened by the police with a misdemeanor because he had posted the way he voted, and posted it on Facebook,’ Boyer told the House Elections Committee. The problem, he said, is a provision of law which make it a crime to show a ballot after it has been voted “in such a manner as to reveal the contents.’ The only exception is someone who is authorized to assist the voter.

New Hampshire: Bill aims to allow ballot selfies in voting booth | WMUR

A House bill is aiming to repeal a law that bans people from taking selfies with their ballots. The law was modified last year and prohibits voters from taking pictures of their ballots and sharing them online. Supporters of the law said sharing that information could influence other voters. But the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union and a number of citizens are challenging it, saying it’s a violation of the First Amendment and freedom of speech. Attorney Dan Hynes testified in favor of the bill Tuesday and brought along a photo he took with the ballot he cast in the last election. “I would like the attorney general to prosecute me so I can contest this law in court and hopefully go up to the New Hampshire Supreme Court,” Hynes said. “This law is unconstitutional.”

New Hampshire: Is A Ban On ‘Ballot Selfies’ Overkill? | NPR

It started out as a seemingly harmless act: voters posting photos of their completed ballots on the Internet. One wrote in his deceased dog’s name for senator because he didn’t like any of the candidates, then shared his message of frustration on Facebook. A state legislator, and another a candidate for the state House, also publicly published photos of their ballots. Now they’re under investigation by the New Hampshire attorney general’s office. The reason? It turns out the act of photographing or sharing a marked ballot is illegal under state law — and in 43 other states.

New Hampshire: Lawsuit Challenges New Hampshire Ban on “Ballot Selfies” | State of Elections

In a recent lawsuit, the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union challenged a law that prohibits the posting of photos of marked ballots on social media. TheNHCLU states, “there is no more potent way to communicate one’s support for a candidate than to voluntarily display a photograph of one’s marked ballot depicting one’s vote for that candidate.” NH RSA 659:35(I) bans a person from displaying a photograph of a market ballot, including on the internet through social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. A willful violation of this statute may be punishable by a fine up to $1,000. House Bill 366, which took effect September 1, 2014, was meant to update a century-old law against vote rigging.  According to Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan, the original law dates back to the 1880s when vote-buying was rampant and votes were bought with money, liquor, and other enticements. According to Scanlan, digital technology is opening the door again for vote buying and voter coercion, and HB 366 attempts to ensure that door remains shut.

New Hampshire: More people posting ballot selfies online in protest of law; legislators say they will move to repeal | Concord Monitor

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.

New Zealand: The law is the law on election day | MSN-NZ

Rules preventing people saying how they have voted and taking selfies with their ticked voting paper will be tested as never before on polling day. Publishing anything on election day that could potentially influence another voter is strictly prohibited in New Zealand. People can post on Facebook that they have voted but not who they have voted for because that may influence others. They can take selfies outside the voting place after they have voted but no pictures are allowed in polling booths depicting ticked boxes on the ballot paper. The Electoral Commission says it will investigate complaints. “This is a long-standing law in New Zealand and one most New Zealanders value,” chief electoral officer Robert Peden told NZ Newswire.

New Zealand: Social media the new campaign trail |

It’s been the campaign of the selfie, the tweet, and the (leaked) email, and new data shows how politicians and political parties rate on their online interactions. Online mentions of both Prime Minister John Key and Labour leader David Cunliffe spiked last night with the TV3 leaders debate, as did comments on minimum wage, tax cuts and income tax. Mentions of Key were higher than comments about Cunliffe during the debate, with a significantly larger number of women than men mentioning Key – although the data does not analyse the sentiment of the comments. The topics discussed during the debate that attracted the most online attention were minimum wage which resonated equally between men and women aged 35-44 and income tax and tax cuts which were mentioned the most by women aged 35-44.

New Zealand: Vote but resist the urge to selfie |

Think twice before taking an election selfie with your ballot paper – you could be breaking the law. The advance voting period began this week, and already early bird voters are sweeping social media, posting photos of themselves at the polling booth. Among them were Labour leader David Cunliffe, Greens co-leader Metiria Turei, and Internet-Mana benefactor Kim Dotcom. Others, including Labour MP Trevor Mallard, have shared photos of their completed ballot papers, prompting warnings they risked falling foul of the Electoral Act. Internet-Mana leader Laila Harre tweeted yesterday: “Reminder that it’s against electoral law to post pics of your ballot paper.” The Electoral Commission advised candidates and supporters to exercise caution when it came to publishing or distributing material that included a ballot paper. This particularly applied to social media where material could be shared, reshared or reposted on election day.

Wisconsin: Elections board upholds ban on observers’ use of cameras | Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal

There will be no selfies — or any other photos taken by observers — at the polls this August. The state elections board decided Monday to support a rule banning election observers from taking photos and videotaping what happens at the polls, including selfies and photos of family members. The state Government Accountability Board, which oversees state elections, has banned observers from using cameras for years and did so again in a 4-2 voice vote Monday. Thomas Barland, John Franke, Gerald Nichol and Elsa Lamelas voted in favor of upholding a section that prohibited cameras in polling areas, while Timothy Vocke and Harold Froelich said the prohibition should be removed to allow for an experiment to see whether cameras could be used responsibly in the partisan primary Aug. 12. The board’s ruling will likely stay in place for the primary election and Nov. 4 general election. The issue arose anew as the board finalized administrative rules on election observers.

South Korea: Picture Taking at Polling Stations Becomes a National Fad | Korea Bizwire

The June 4 elections had widely been expected to be quiet and uneventful in the wake of the Sewol ferry incident three weeks ago. The elections were completed without any foul play or controversy. As many as 23,465,000 went to the booth out of 41,296,000 registered voters, with the final voting ratio of 56.8 percent. This is the second highest voting ratio among all local elections. Just like any other country going through elections these days, Korea is no exception in that people love to take “selfies” right after they cast their ballots and show it off on their social networking spaces. In the past, it was usually restricted to entertainers and other celebrities. But now more and more ordinary people are doing it, promoting themselves that they are proud voters. Korean voters are today allowed to take pictures of themselves in front of a polling station and publish them on the Internet. But the pictures must be in ways that show a simple fact that one has voted.

Netherlands: The Dutch are perfecting the controversial art of the voting-booth selfie | Quartz

The Dutch are known for their candor. This openness even extends to the ostensibly secret act of voting in national elections. Tweeting selfies while voting became something of a phenomenon during municipal elections in March. When subsequently asked to clarify the law on taking photos in the voting booth, Dutch courts gave it their blessing (link in Dutch), as long as the photo is of your own ballot and not somebody else’s. Today, Dutch voters went to the polls for the European Parliament, and a flood of selfies burst forth. (For many more “stemfies”—a mashup of selfie and the Dutch stemmen (to vote)—follow the #stemfie hashtag.) The UK is also voting in European elections today, but you won’t see many tweets of Brits beaming with their ballots. The country’s election authority warned that voting-booth selfies could endanger the secrecy of the vote, and staff have put up warnings against taking photos inside polling stations. The penalty for revealing someone else’s ballot is a £5,000 ($8,430) fine or six months in prison.

Netherlands: Polling booth selfies sweep the Netherlands | AFP

Dutch citizens and politicians united on Wednesday in posting voting booth selfie photos, an increasingly popular phenomenon that could threaten the principle of the secret ballot but also encourages people to vote. Alexander Pechtold, who heads the centrist D66 party, was among the many Dutch voting in Wednesday’s local elections who tweeted a #stemfie, a combination of “stemmen”, the Dutch word for voting, and selfie. The photos, often of voters posing with the red pencil used to make their democratic choice or the candidate list, spread over Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, with the #stemfie hashtag trending. Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk tweeted: “I’m not calling on people to take a #stemfie, but it is allowed.”