With the presidential election cycle and important laws about to be voted on, the American public will soon be headed out to the polls to put in their votes. However, a new issue may arise this election cycle and that is the idea of taking pictures or selfies with your ballot. This is currently illegal in Oklahoma, but like many laws in America, it has no force behind it. Electioneering and the laws that fight against it are extremely important in this election as there are rumors about voter fraud and rigged elections.
A law made in Oklahoma around 40 years ago states that taking pictures of your ballot is an illegal practice, but it doesn’t have mandated fines or jail time associated with the law. This causes a problem in Oklahoma as it makes the populace unsure on the illegality of a certain action, which is a major sign of a terribly written law. Local authorities have stated that you should not take pictures but there is no fine or jail time associated with it.. This causes problems for the average citizen trying to show they voted.
This is the case throughout the United States. There is no national law that either completely bans ballot selfies or allows them to be legal. In states like Hawaii, Louisiana, Idaho and Maine these voting selfies are perfectly legal without any problems being put forward. However, it’s viewed as a misdemeanor in Colorado or even a felony in Illinois. There are also states that have the same unsure status as Oklahoma, like Pennsylvania and Delaware.
The main issue here is whether or not photos of your ballot should be illegal. The general conception for selfies is that they are merely a harmless way to show off to the world that you voted and hopefully that will remind and push people forward into voting if they were not planning on it. The other side of the argument put forward by spokespeople for the Secretary of State of Alabama is that “Voters have a right to cast a ballot in secrecy and private.” This idea comes from the fact that one person’s selfie may contain other people who are less forthcoming with their voting information. These pictures could also be seen as electioneering which is the act of trying to shift one’s vote through either illegal or rather wrongful means. An example of this that correlates with pictures is a law in New York and Virginia which does not allow people to wear political merchandise like clothing, hats and buttons. These pictures could be seen in the same light that you are showing off your political leanings inside of a voting area to people around you.
People who want to take pictures of their vote should instead just take a picture of themselves with the “I voted” sticker outside of their voting building. This allows the photographer to show off their voting action while leaving out any bystanders who do not want their voting practices to be known.