The Issue With Voting Booth Selfies

The selfie – people take them in public restrooms, their cars, with friends and sometimes, with duck face.

Of the myriad styles of selfies, the one that is getting attention among fair-election groups is the hey-I-just-voted selfie.

A recent ruling out of New Hampshire has people talking.

Here’s what happened: A federal district judge there struck down a statute that penalizes people for taking voting-boot selfies.

Here are some more details courtesy of the Huffington Post:

The case arose when three Republican voters — one of whom wrote-in his dead dog as a U.S. Senate candidate because he was unhappy with the other contenders — got word they were being investigated for posting selfies with their ballot choices on social media.

So with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire, they challenged the law as a violation of their freedom of speech and won.

Judge Barbadoro said the law “cannot stand to the extent that it bars voters from disclosing images of their completed ballots.”

But while some are hailing the decision as a First Amendment victory, election experts fear that it might have unintended consequences.

Here’s another snippet from the HuffPo:

“That might seem like a victory for the American Way,” wrote UCI Law Professor Richard Hasen, whose specialty is voting rights. “But the judge made a huge mistake because without the ballot-selfie ban, we could see the reemergence of the buying and selling of votes — and even potential coercion from employers, union bosses and others.”

And the controversy extends beyond New Hampshire’s borders, too.

To read more about the issue, click here.

Editor’s Note: What do you think? Is the voting-booth selfie a threat to the sanctity of the ballot box? Is it protected free speech? Tell me in the comments section below.

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