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How Not to Get Arrested While Exercising Your Constitutional Right

In the age of Millennials, the selfie is a staple of everyday life. But you may want to be careful where you pose for that selfie because you might be breaking a state law.

In recent elections, taking a selfie and posting it to social media while exercising your right to vote has become a widely popular trend. But the question is, are these selfie-taking voters allowed to do this?

Well depending on which state you are in, depends on whether it is legal to take a selfie with your ballot. For example, in Ohio voters are prohibited from showing other voters how they voted, but there is no clear-cut law on ballot selfies.  Moreover, there are many selfie friendly states, such as Kentucky, Indiana, and Massachusetts where there are no laws banning ballot selfies or they have been overturned. On the other hand, in Illinois showing your marked ballot to another voter is a felony. However, not every state where it is illegal to take a ballot selfie is as strict as Illinois. For instance, in Colorado ballot selfies are just a misdemeanor offense, while in other states such as Kansas it is illegal but not punishable.

Here is a map that shows where is it legal to take your beloved ballot selfie:

map-update-0

http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/10/25/13389980/ballot-selfie-legal-illegal

So, why are ballot selfies so controversial? The pro-selfie group argues that ballot selfies are protected under free speech. They also argue ballot selfies are good for democracy to help increase voter turnout by encouraging others to get involved. While the anti-selfie group argues ballot-selfies could compromise elections by increasing voter fraud and vote buying.

This controversial issue has even gone to court already in New Hampshire. An effort to ban the legality of the ballot selfie in New Hampshire was challenged by the pro-selfie group, which included Snapchat and the American Civil Liberties Union. However, the effort to ban the legality was turned down by the federal judge.

So, if you are like Justin Timberlake and just cannot resist taking that selfie on November 8th, you may want to be sure you are not breaking the law by doing so or just take a selfie with your “I voted” sticker instead.

Alexandria Nagel is a Law Clerk at Lardiere McNair, LLC.  To read more about our firm, please visit www.lmcounsel.com.

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