Why You Might Not Want to Take a Selfie at Your Polling Place

2 minute read
Updated: | Originally published: ;

Everyone from Shepard Fairey to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is encouraging voters to take a selfie at the ballot box today. But in most states, following their advice could send you to jail.

According to the Digital Media Law Project, filming or photographing your marked ballot is illegal in 35 states. The law in Ohio, for example, prohibits voters from displaying their ballots “with the apparent intention of letting it be known how the elector is about to vote” or “exhibiting any ticket or ballot the elector tends to cast.”

Granted, these laws were implemented before social media—and the related desire to share every quotidian moment in your day—became a thing. Designed to prevent people from selling their votes, the laws are rarely enforced.

However, New Hampshire did institute an updated law on September 1 that specifically prohibits sharing ballot photos on social media, and according to Reuters, the Office of the New Hampshire Secretary of State is already investigating suspected violations from the September 9 primary.

(On a related note, that free latte that you got for showing your “I Voted” sticker is also technically illegal.)

So go ahead and take a picture of yourself getting ready to vote and pick up a free cup of Joe on the house. Just try to keep the actual ballot off of Instagram.

See Where America Votes

Salvador Ponce
Salvador Ponce, 73, leaves after casting his ballot at a polling place set up in the playground of a McDonald's restaurant in Los Angeles on Nov. 4, 2014.Jae C. Hong—AP
Election Utah
People vote at the polling place in Krishna Temple in Salt Lake City on Nov. 4, 2014. Rick Bowmer—AP
A woman votes at a polling station in a local grocery store during U.S. midterm elections, in National City
A woman votes at a polling station inside a local grocery store in National City, Calif. on Nov. 4, 2014. Mike Blake—Reuters
Midterms Elections Held Across The U.S.
A voter works on his ballot at First Class Barber Shop in Chicago on Nov. 4, 2014.Brian Kersey—Getty Images
Midterms Elections Held Across The U.S.
Sandy Anderson votes at Oakton Ice Arena in Park Ridge, Ill. on Nov. 4, 2014.Brian Kersey—Getty Images
Larry Levatte
Voter Larry Levatte casts his ballot inside the old Hoggards Mill Courthouse of Baker County in Newton, Ga. on Nov. 4, 2014. David Goldman—AP
Deborah Brown, 60, emerges from the voting booth after casting her ballot on U.S. midterm election day morning at the West Philadelphia YMCA in Philadelphia
Deborah Brown, 60, emerges from the voting booth after casting her ballot at the West Philadelphia YMCA in Philadelphia on Nov. 4, 2014. MARK MAKELA—REUTERS
America Votes
A voter leaves his booth as election workers GayLee Erickson, left, and Debbie Redmond, second from left, confer at the Valley Bible Chalet, in Indian, Alaska on Nov. 4, 2014.Ted S. Warren—AP
America Votes
Poll worker Maria Soroka finishes setting up a polling station in a garage before polls open in San Diego on Nov. 4, 2014.Gregory Bull—AP
Midterms Elections Held Across The U.S.
A voter casts her ballot at a fire station in Climax, N.C. on Nov. 4, 2014.Alex Wong—Getty Images
A voter looks over her ballot for the U.S. midterm elections at a laundromat used as a polling station in Chicago, Illinois
A voter looks over her ballot for the U.S. midterm elections at a laundromat used as a polling station in Chicago on Nov. 4, 2014. Jim Young—Reuters
A woman fills out her ballot at a polling place at a swimming pool on Election Day in Los Angeles
A woman fills out her ballot at a polling place at a swimming pool in Los Angeles on Nov. 4, 2014. LUCY NICHOLSON—REUTERS
APTOPIX America Votes
Voters fill out their ballots in a gym on election day at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church in Albany, N.Y. on Nov. 4.Mike Groll—AP
Voters fill in their ballots at a polling place located in Shoaf's Wagon Wheel during the U.S. midterm elections in Salisbury
Voters fill in their ballots at a polling place located in Shoaf's Wagon Wheel in Salisbury, N.C. on Nov. 4, 2014. CHRIS KEANE—REUTERS
Ferguson, Missouri Residents Vote On Election Day
Residents cast their votes at a polling place in Ferguson, Mo. on Nov. 4, 2014.Scott Olson—Getty Images
Voting in US Midterm Elections
A voter drops her election ballot at one of many ballot drop boxes in the Arvada suburb of Denver on Nov. 4, 2014. BOB PEARSON—EPA
Midterms Elections Held Across The U.S.
A voter enters the voting booth at Bishop Leo E. O'Neil Youth Center in Manchester, N.H. on Nov. 4, 2014.Darren McCollester—Getty Images
America Votes
A voter leaves the Valley Bible Chalet polling location in Indian, Alaska on Nov. 4, 2014.Ted S. Warren—AP

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