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Tipsheet

"Ballot Selfies" Law Struck Down in New Hampshire

It is now legal to take a picture of a ballot in New Hampshire and post it on the internet. A judge struck down a controversial law from 2014 that prohibited photographing a ballot and sharing it on various social media sites. The law was blocked before it could ever go into effect.

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The American Civil Liberties' Union praised the court's decision as a victory for free speech.

BOSTON – Today, in a victory for the First Amendment, the First Circuit Court of Appeals struck down New Hampshire’s law banning “ballot selfies” on the grounds that it violates the right to free speech under the First Amendment. The decision can be found here.

In a thoughtful 22-page opinion, the Court unequivocally concluded that the law violates free speech rights. As the Court held: “The restriction affects voters who are engaged in core political speech, an area highly protected by the First Amendment …. Ballot selfies have taken on a special communicative value: they both express support for a candidate and communicate that the voter has in fact given his or her vote to that candidate.” The Court added: “New Hampshire may not impose such a broad restriction on speech banning ballot selfies in order to combat an unsubstantiated and hypothetical danger. We repeat the old adage: ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’”

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Good. This law was silly, and all it was going to do was make more people into criminals--without any of the supposed "benefits" against voter intimidation. While "ballot selfies" may sound silly, they certainly shouldn't be a crime.

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