Voting + Instagram = Jail

But should you use your smartphone to photograph your ballot? Well, that all depends on where you’re voting.

According to the Citizen Media Law Project’s Web site, some states, including Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada and Texas, “expressly prohibit the use of photographic and recording equipment inside polling places.”

The site also offers a handy chart summarizing the laws in each state around documenting your vote.

One voter in North Carolina, where it’s illegal to take photos of completed ballots, underStatute 163 – 166.3 (sections b and c), was stripped of his smartphone when he took it out to consult his list of chosen candidates.

The state of Wisconsin is taking an even harder line, with the Government Accountability Board telling voters that posting completed ballot pics to Facebook or Twitter constitutes election fraud under the state’s law — a Class I felony. It’s also not the first time the Wisconsin GAB has warned of this.

It’s worth noting that many states prohibit activities that interfere with other people’s voting processes. So, even if photography is allowed in your polling place, disrupting or intimidating someone else, or capturing an image of their ballot, might be a big no-no.

What if you share a partial photo of your ballot that doesn’t include your candidate selection, as a Facebook friend did this morning? It’s a bit murky, but if your state prohibits ballot photography, that could arguably extend to any part of the ballot.

As tough as it is to peel yourself away from your smartphone for 10 minutes and not blast your ballot pics to your social streams, in some states, it’s wise to use caution when it comes to your vote.


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