It's election day, and people all over this great country are busy posting pictures of their "I voted" stickers to Twitter and Instagram. Taking it one step further, some San Franciscans will post a photo of their marked ballot — proudly shouting their vote for or against the latest controversial proposition from their digital rooftops. There's just one problem: It's illegal to do that.
One Bay Area lawmaker wants to change all that and let everyone proudly announce their votes.
Assemblyman Marc Levine of San Rafael believes that "ballot selfies," as they're (I guess?) called, are a positive sign of civic engagement and should be encouraged. In a press release issued yesterday, Levine spoke of how taking a ballot selfie is truly an all-American act of political free speech.
“The ballot selfie is protected political speech," writes Levine. "Elections officials must demonstrate public harm through nefarious use of ballot selfies before denying voters their First Amendment rights. I encourage California voters to exercise their right to political speech,” he continues.
Current California law reads that "[after] the ballot is marked, a voter shall not show it to any person in such a way as to reveal its contents." As such, your social media pic of you writing in your favorite Walking Dead character for Mayor is in violation of that law.
The Assemblyman will introduce legislation to legalize sharing pictures of your marked ballot this January, according to the press release. Until that time, however, it remains illegal to tweet/Fbook those pics.
Lastly, and for the sake of sanity, it should be noted that unless your ballot took a photo of itself then the picture is not a "ballot selfie." It's just a photograph.