Do Not Post Pictures of Your Completed Ballot on Social Media
- By Ginger Hill
- Nov 04, 2014
Today is Election Day and Google produced a Doodle that will tell you exactly where you need to go to cast your ballot based on your address. Super helpful. But remember that in this day of photo-sharing madness, it is illegal in many parts of the United States to take photos of a completed ballot. Suggestion: Leave your smartphone at home.
For years, lawmakers have protected the sanctity and anonymity of the voting booth by not allowing photos. This has also protected voters’ identities and doesn’t put undue pressure on a person to vote a certain way. For example, if you saw a picture of your favorite movie star with his or her ballot flash across Twitter or on Facebook, this could persuade your vote.
So serious is the “crime” of posting photos of your completed ballot on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, Pinterest and other social media sites that steep fines are being issued, up to $1,000 in the state of New Hampshire, and some are even having their votes invalidated.
In response to this, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Hampshire sued the New Hampshire state government to allow photographing and posting of completed ballots. At least three New Hampshire residents have been investigated for already doing so, including a former police officer who completed his ballot with his deceased dog’s name.
Should ACLU win its law suit, they feel that a common form of political participation and civic engagement could be used as a “powerful form of political speech.”
While posting pictures of completed ballots may seem harmless, I feel that it could quickly spiral out of control in a negative way, making a right that we have as Americans because of our service men and women become a way for hackers, criminals, etc. to use voting for malice.
Ginger Hill is Group Social Media Manager.