Before Snapping A Selfie Inside A Voting Booth, Read This To Avoid Legal Trouble

Before Snapping A Selfie Inside A Voting Booth, Read This To Avoid Legal Trouble

Remember that time Justin Timberlake accidentally broke the law by posting a selfie of him inside the voting booth two years ago? A number of states still ban the practice to varying degrees, with punishments as steep as three years of jail time and $25,000 in fines in Illinois, where it’s considered a felony.

If you can’t control your compulsive desire to virtue signal to others on the Internet, here’s what you need to know before snapping that selfie.

Ballot selfies are legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia. Slate’s Molly Olmstead put together this list:

These states are Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. In Oregon and Washington, residents vote by mail, and it’s still not illegal to post photos of your mail-in ballot.

If you’re voting in any of the other 27 states, it’s a good idea to leave your phone in your pocket and skip the selfie, because it is illegal to do so to varying degrees.

The bans have been challenged in a number of states, pushing others to amend their rules to be less restrictive. Last year, Colorado implemented a law explicitly allowing ballot selfies after a federal court struck down the ban. In Michigan, an ongoing lawsuit could soon have national implications, according to Stephen Klein, an attorney with the Pillar of Law Institute. The group is representing a resident who is suing Michigan over its law.

There are several different kinds of restrictions on the books. Most states have laws that make exposing a marked ballot inside a polling place on election day illegal, but some states interpret these restrictions to count a photograph of one’s own ballot as an exposure, he explained. Other states have banned all photography and recording within a certain distance of the polling place, like in Texas, where recording images or sound is illegal within 100 feet of a voting booth.

“The trend of freeing things up is slow, but the message is clear nationwide: ballot selfies are not a threat to voting integrity, do not cause disruptions or delays in polling places, or pose any threat to our elections,” Klein said.

Bre Payton is a staff writer at The Federalist. Follow her on Twitter.
Photo screengrab/ABC News
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