Can you take pictures of your ballot?

CINCINNATI - It's not enough to tell people that you voted. Social media is so pervasive that many are using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to prove they voted, going as far as posting photos of their ballots.

But can your smartphone be part of the voting experience on Election Day?

Six states "expressly prohibit the use of photographic and recording equipment inside polling places," according to the Citizen Media Law Project's website . The states include Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, Nevada and Texas, according to the site.

Kentucky law prohibits the use of video cameras or cellphones at the polls, although it specifically warns against using the devices to release the identity of voters.

Ohio and Indiana election laws leave some wiggle room. According to Ohio law , voters should not "exhibit any ticket or ballot which the elector intends to cast." That doesn't indicate if that means a ballot before or after it is marked.

Breaking election laws can have serious consequences: You could be removed from the polling place and even subject to criminal penalties.

For the laws in the rest of the states, go to the Citizen Media Law Project site at http://www.citmedialaw.org/state-law-documenting-vote-2012 . Because there is no single, national law regulating polling place activities, it is difficult to generalize about what you can and cannot do on Election Day.

All states prohibit activities that interfere with the voting process or intimidate voters, and poll workers and other voters might see your photographing or videotaping as disruptive or intimidating.

The Citizen Media Law Project is a site by Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society, a research center founded to explore cyberspace, share in its study, and help pioneer its development.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments