Rhode Islanders with cell phone cameras would be able to prove that they’ve voted, via a selfie photo, under a proposed change in voting regulations.The proposal would modify a blanket restriction on any photo-taking or electronic recording in the voting areas of polling places, allowing voters to photograph themselves while restricting them from photographing other people, according to the Board of Elections’ legal counsel, Raymond Marcaccio. The proposed change reflects a recognition that many voters, especially younger people, want the freedom to take selfies.“It’s the way of the world for this generation,” said one board member, Stephen P. Erickson. “They grow up with excessive sharing. They’re gonna do it.” The proposal to allow selfies is among several changes entertained by the board, including a proposal that would allow bake sales in the vicinity of voting areas.
The proposal has the support of the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, but it has drawn criticism from Common Cause Rhode Island’s executive director, John Marion.
Marion, speaking to the board Wednesday night, said that taking a selfie is a way for a voter to prove how he or she voted. Having such proof can make it easier to sell a vote, he said. “Five states expressly prohibit people from electronically transmitting how they voted,” said Marion. “The purpose of those prohibitions has been to prevent vote selling.”