A quick scroll through any social media feed from yesterday’s primary election will undoubtedly show voters proudly posting pictures of their ballot. It is just one way voters these days spread the word about who they support and to get out the vote. Yet many people are unaware that the Secretary of State has ruled that voters are prohibited from taking photographs at the polls. Despite the prohibition, media is allowed to film in the polling location, albeit not inside the polling booth.
To that end, House Democratic Floor Leader Sam Singh (D-East Lansing) has introduced legislation that would allow voters to take a picture of themselves or of their ballot in a voting booth.
“If people are excited to vote and want to document their experience, I don’t think we should stand in the way of their First Amendment right,” said Rep. Singh. “The Secretary of State’s frivolous rule that such actions are prohibited is inaccurate, unenforceable and a clear violation of free speech.”
State laws vary in terms of whether voters can take photos in the polling location or of their ballot as well as whether or not they can share pictures on social media. Some violations simply garner a reminder while others are classified as a felony.
Singh’s bill specifies where voters can take a picture in order to ensure the privacy of others and extends the same provisions for those voting absentee.
“Voting is something to be proud of. If sharing your polling place selfie reminds others to get out and vote, then we should let them do it,” said Singh.