Add a Wisconsin mayor to the list of voters who violated the state’s election law prohibiting sharing pictures of completed ballots. Wisconsin Rapids Mayor Zach Vruwink, 26, faces a possible felony after posting online a picture of his ballot in the primary for his re-election. A City Council candidate saw the post and filed a complaint with the district attorney, who was debating moving forward with charges as of Thursday. Despite warnings from the Government Accountability Board — which governs elections in Wisconsin — the issue has come up in multiple elections in the last few years as voters photograph their ballots and share them on social media. “I understand the law’s intent is to protect the integrity of the voting process,” Vruwink wrote in a text message. “This post was in no way election fraud.”
Vruwink said he was unaware the act was a crime and that he contacted the GAB after taking the photo down Wednesday. The GAB said the law is in place to prevent the sale of votes in elections.
“The law is clear that you cannot show your ballot to anyone, and taking a picture of your ballot is one way of doing that,” GAB spokesman Reid Magney said.
Taking a picture of a completed ballot doesn’t inherently violate state law. But a photo that is shown to someone else or ends up online can bring Class I felony charges, punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.