Ballot selfies: Here’s where they’re allowed and where they’re illegal

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Courtesy: (WFLA 8 On Your Side Staff)

Secrecy in the voting booth has become a thing of the past for those ready to share their views and daily lives on social media, but laws nationwide are mixed on the question of whether voters are allowed to take pictures of themselves voting and their ballots.

How states handle the question:

STATES WHERE BALLOT SELFIES ARE ALLOWED:

ARKANSAS: Ballot selfies are allowed in Arkansas.

CALIFORNIA: The legislature voted to change the law after the 2016 primary. The law went into effect on Jan. 1, 2017. 

COLORADO: Ballot selfies are now allowed under a bill signed in 2017.

CONNECTICUT: No law bans ballot selfies, according to Patrick Gallahue, a spokesman for Secretary of State Denise Merrill. But election moderators have discretion to prohibit activity “that threatens the orderly process of voting or the privacy of another voter’s ballot.”

DELAWARE: Cell phones aren’t allowed in voting booths, but this state does not have a specific law against taking selfies.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: There’s no ban. Election officials discourage people from taking pictures but won’t do anything to stop them, said Tamara Robinson, a spokeswoman for the D.C. Board of Elections.

HAWAII: A law passed this year allows voters to share a digital image of one’s own marked ballot.

IDAHO: There’s no law banning them, the secretary of state’s office said.

INDIANA: A federal judge last year barred the state from enforcing a new law prohibiting ballot selfies.

KANSAS: There is no law prohibiting ballot selfies in Kansas.

KENTUCKY: Secretary of state spokesman Bradford Queen says state law does not allow people to record the likeness of a voter, but the law does not say whether voters can record their own likeness. Therefore, the secretary of state’s office routinely tells county clerks the law does not prohibit ballot selfies.

LOUISIANA: Ballot selfies are allowed in the state but the ballot just cannot be marked.

MAINE: The secretary of state discourages ballot selfies because there’s a ban on making unauthorized ballot copies, but there’s no law against voters posting photos of their marked ballot.

MINNESOTA: Allowed as long as they’re not shown to fellow voters at the polling place or capture another person in the photo. The ballots must also not be marked.

MISSISSIPPI: Photos are legal as long as the ballot isn’t marked.

MONTANA: Law does not specifically prohibit the use of cameras at polling places, but election administrators and judges have broad authority to limit disruptive activity, according to Emily Dean, spokeswoman for the secretary of state. Sharing photos of absentee ballots is also not banned.

NEBRASKA: Gov. Pete Ricketts signed a bill in April that allows someone to show their marked ballots to others without risking a $100 fine.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston last month upheld a decision that a ban was unconstitutional, saying it suppresses a large swath of political speech and there was no evidence to support the state’s concerns.

NEW MEXICO: Ballot selfies are now legal in the state.

NORTH DAKOTA: Photos inside polling places are allowed.

OREGON: All voting is done through mail-in ballots, which voters are free to photograph. A state law prohibiting showing a marked ballot to another person was repealed in 2014, according to Molly Woon, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins.

Pennsylvania: Selfies are allowed inside your polling place, but you can’t reveal how you voted.

RHODE ISLAND: The Board of Elections adopted new rules in time for November’s election that allow for selfie-taking inside polling places. The updated regulations allow voters to take photos as long as they don’t show another person’s ballot.

UTAH: Gov. Gary Herbert signed a bill last year that makes it legal for people to snap pictures of themselves with their ballots. The law makes it a misdemeanor to photograph someone else’s ballot.

VERMONT: No rules regarding photos in polling places. Clerks are encouraged to adopt specific rules for their polling places to maintain order, according to Jim Condos, a spokesman for the secretary of state.

VIRGINIA: Attorney General Mark Herring issued a formal opinion last month that says ballot selfies are legal in Virginia. Nothing in Virginia law prohibits voters from taking pictures of themselves, fellow voters or their ballot within the polling place, he said.

WASHINGTON STATE: It’s not against the law in Washington, but a spokesman for Washington state Secretary of State Kim Wyman said the office doesn’t recommend it.

WISCONSIN: State law now allows sharing photos of ballots.

WYOMING: No laws against ballot selfies. Law does allow judges of elections to “preserve order at the polls by any necessary and suitable means.”

STATES WHERE BALLOT SELFIES ARE ILLEGAL:

ALABAMA: Not allowed because voters have “a right to cast a ballot in secrecy and in private,” said a spokesman for Secretary of State John Merrill.

ALASKA: A state law bans voters from showing their marked ballots, but a spokesman says there is no practical way to enforce it.

FLORIDA: Photographs are not allowed in polling places or of mailed ballots.

GEORGIA: Law prevents photos of ballots or the screens of electronic voting machines.

ILLINOIS: Banned by a law that considers “knowingly” marking your ballot so that another person can see it is a felony that carries of prison sentence of one to three years.

KANSAS: Secretary of state says a selfie showing a picture of the actual ballot violates state law.

MASSACHUSETTS: Taking a photo of a completed ballot in a polling location is banned in Massachusetts. But the state’s top election official, Secretary William Galvin, says there’s little the state can do to prevent it. Photos of mailed ballots are also banned.

MICHIGAN: The secretary of state’s office said the use of video and still cameras are prohibited at the polls.

NEVADA: Photos inside polling places are not allowed, except by the media. Photos of mailed ballots are also banned.

NEW JERSEY: Law prohibits voters from showing their ballot to others. A pending legislative measure would allow voters to take photos of their own ballots while in the voting booth and share it on social media.

NEW YORK: A federal judge upheld a rule prohibiting voters for taking photos inside voting booths.

NORTH CAROLINA: Photographing or otherwise recording a voted official ballot is not allowed.

OHIO: It’s illegal to snap a selfie with your ballot.

OKLAHOMA: No ballot selfies allowed in Oklahoma.

SOUTH CAROLINA: Law bars voters from allowing their ballots to be seen. A 2012 state attorney general’s opinion says that makes it illegal to reproduce a ballot by cellphone, video camera or iPad.

SOUTH DAKOTA: Secretary of State Shantel Krebs says ballot selfies are not allowed because they can be considered influencing a vote or forcing someone to show proof of voting.

Arizona, Texas, Iowa, Tennessee, West Virginia and Maryland allow only photos of absentee ballots.

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