Are “Ballot Selfies” Illegal In Michigan?
Turns out, it varies by state and you might want to get the specifics before a simple social media misstep could void your vote.
Social media lately has been a hub for people ranging from your neighbor to major celebrities telling you to vote or trying to sway your vote. It has really been a great tool and while it could potentially get more voters to the polls, it also can make for some sticky situations.
We're not just talking about fighting about politics on Facebook, we mean posting a photo of your ballot or taking a "selfie" as you vote could make yours not count.
Apparently there are a few states where taking a selfie either in your polling place as you vote or straight-up posting photos of your completed ballot is actually "illegal."
However, it is really up to state and local governments to make that decision, "[But] 18 states, including Alabama, Illinois and Florida, say it is not allowed. And for six others, the rules are ambiguous," says The Times.
Back in 2018, The Times had Michigan grouped in with the states that do not allow "ballot selfies" but when you look at the "official" statement from 2019 by the Secretary of State, I would argue Michigan falls into the more "ambiguous" category.
The state had reached a settlement agreement that would allow voters to take a photo of their ballot, only within the voting booth but other actions like taking a selfie in the booth or within the area of other people voting is prohibited.
Other "prohibited" selfie-ing actions include "taking any other type of photograph within the area of people voting" and "Sharing images of a voted ballot within 100 feet from the polling place – the buffer zone where electioneering is prohibited."
While many more people are voting absentee this year, these rules may fall into a real grey-area.
So, if you still would like to make sure your voice is heard, both in the voting booth and online, you may just want to play it safe and stick to the old stand-by of a picture with your "I Voted" sticker.
Worried about other ways you could mistakenly make your vote not count? Here are some tips on voting absentee:
VOTE 2020: Making Your Absentee Ballot Count