Justin Timberlake highlighted these complications when he took a ballot selfie (since removed) while voting early in Memphis. In this case, it's not even an old law that makes what he did illegal. Tennessee passed a law this year forbidding the use of "a mobile electronic or communication device" for "telephone conversations, recording, or taking photographs or videos while inside the polling place." Though, the law permits the use of phones for "informational purposes to assist the voter in making election decisions."
While that law is new, many weren't written with the digital age in mind and there's sometimes a lack of clarity regarding ballot selfies. NBC reports that Iowa, Montana, Michigan, New York, Nevada, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin, and 17 other states don't currently allow ballot selfies. A similar map put together by the Associated Press and USA Today says many of those same states, including Montana and Michigan, do allow selfies.
Meanwhile, things are fluid. The New Hampshire ruling came through in September and on Oct. 24 a Colorado state senator filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Colorado for banning ballot selfies. In New York, where ballot selfies remain illegal, the law was challenged recently and upheld. The judge wrote, in a 16-page decision, that changes this close to the election would be "a recipe for delays and a disorderly election"
The penalty where ballot selfies are illegal ranges from a felony (Illinois) to a misdemeanor (Tennessee), so it's worth digging up the laws in your state and precinct. However, it's important to note that a ballot selfie, even if illegal, does not invalidate your vote. But if you're not sure and want to play it safe, it's not illegal to post a selfie outside a polling station sporting an "I voted" sticker. Plus, the fluorescent lighting in polling stations doesn't capture your "I just voted" glow the same way the sun will.
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