Snapchat Fights for Voters’ Right to Take Selfie in Voting Booths
If you had always wanted to take a selfie in a voting booth and share it on social media, but didn’t do so because of the repercussion you’d face—don’t fret—Snapchat is fighting for your right to do so.
According to CNN, the company filed a 26-page brief on April 22 against a August 2015 ballot selfie ban in New Hampshire.
The case is now being appealed in the First Circuit court.
According to CNN, in New York it is legal to take a picture, but one must do so before filling out your ballot; In California, cameras are banned in the voting booth and polling places; In Pennsylvania, taking a picture inside a voting booth can get you a $1,000 fine or 12-months in jail; In Wisconsin, showing someone else your filled-out ballot is considered a felony.
(The Huffington Post has additional list of rules by state).
These various bans are purportedly to prevent voter fraud.
However, Snapchat disagrees and says a “ballot selfie” is protected by the First Amendment.
“If you are in the voting booth and take a picture of your ballot, then cast your ballot and go home, and then put it online, then you’ve already voted,” Sara Rose from the Pennsylvania ACLU said, “so I don’t think that would violate the law.”
“I have heard stories about people being told they can’t bring cell phones in to polling place[s],” Rose continued, “but there is actually no law against that either.”
Snapchat also compares taking selfies in a ballot booth to wearing campaign buttons or “I Voted” stickers.
“The ballot selfie captures the very essence of that [political] process as it happens—the pulled lever, the filled-in bubble, the punched-out chad—and thus dramatizes the power that one person has to influence our government,” says the brief.