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Tipsheet

It May Soon Be Legal To Take A Selfie While Voting

Currently, it is not legal in many states to take a picture while voting. The First Court of Appeals in Boston may change that.

The court is considering a 2014 law in New Hampshire that would punish someone with a $1,000 fine for sharing a picture of a ballot on social media. In theory, the law was intended to combat vote buying and voter intimidation--but the state hasn't been able to produce any evidence of vote buying schemes since the 1800s.

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The law in New Hampshire has been controversial since its passage, and was blocked before it could go into effect.

The law was challenged by three New Hampshire residents who took selfies as they voted — including a state representative and a man who didn't like any of the candidates for U.S. Senate and wrote in the name of his dog who had died a few days earlier.

Putting a voting booth selfie on the Internet "is a powerful form of political speech that conveys various constitutionally protected messages that have no relationship to vote buying or voter coercion," says Gilles Bissonnette of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire, representing the challengers.

While this may sound silly to be concerned about ballot selfies, of all things, it really doesn't make sense to turn people into criminals for the extremely innocuous act of putting a ballot picture online. These laws are unnecessary and they should be overturned.

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