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.
We haven’t had the secret ballot throughout American history. Indeed, before the rise of the “Australian ballot” printed by the government, political parties in some places printed their own ballots. Each party’s ballot would be a different color. There would even be parades to march people to the polls with their colored ballots. So it was very easy to see how people voted — and to reward or punish them if desired.
A voter deposits his ballot in the ballot box for the U.S. midterm elections at a polling place in Westminster, Colorado, November 4, 2014. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
The secret ballot made vote buying and coercion that much more difficult. Sure, I can tell you I voted for the candidate you wanted me to — but how would you know if I were telling the truth? Indeed, turnout went down as each state adopted the secret ballot.
Full Article: Why the selfie is a threat to democracy.