If you vote and don't post a selfie on social media, did it even happen? It's Election Day once again, and there are a few rules you should know before heading to the polls to vote.
For starters, snapping that selfie from your polling booth is a big violation and might be a misdemeanor in some states. While the laws vary from state to state, anything from taking photos in the voting booth, to snapping a picture with your ballot, to taking photos inside the polling station where you are voting might always be off limits. Just like with voting, the best thing you can do is to be informed, so we've broken down some of the rules around this for you.
First, your best course of action is to pay attention to any signs that are at the polling station. If they explicitly ask you to not take photos, you're better off just keeping your phone in your bag. In some states, photo-capturing can be a very serious way to get tossed out of a polling place. Before heading to a polling station or drop box, check out your local guidelines for taking photos, and if you snap a picture, make sure it's not disrupting the voting process for someone else.
But in case you are in doubt, here's a breakdown of states that do not allow the use of a phone in the polling station at all: Georgia (only outside the polling station), the same goes for Delaware, North Carolina, and Georgia. Some states are evening stricter: Arizona only allows selfies with your ballot, but nowhere inside or outside the polling station. As long as you are not impeding someone else's ability to vote, states like Iowa, Oregon, and New Hampshire are all for a good voter selfie.
Since states vary in rules, these are the current states do not allow selfies in the voting booth, polling station, or pictures of your ballot: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia.
While some states don't have explicit laws against selfies, they do have laws against sharing your completed ballot with other people, and a selfie with your ballot is doing just that. The following states allow selfies in the voting booth as long as your ballot isn't filled out: Alaska, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Utah, and Vermont.
It's a pretty even split between states that restrict or prohibit voting selfies and those who allow it. Then there are the states that don't have formal polling stations, like Oregon and Washington, and rely exclusively on mail-in ballots. In these instances, you are more than welcome to share. It might even remind some of your other fellow Pacific Northwesterners to turn in their ballots before the deadline.
Finally, the following states do not have any laws against taking selfies in the voting booth or of your completed ballot at all: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
So, what happens if you decide to take a photo with your filled-out ballot or in the voting booth in a state where it's prohibited? Just like all these rules, it depends. Many states in this category will simply discourage you from sharing; however, there are some states like Vermont, that will issue fines up to $1,000 for sharing your ballot with the intention of revealing your vote. If you're caught snapping a selfie in Missouri, you could be fined up to $2,500. In the end, there is no law stating that sharing your ballot will negate your vote, and it is very unlikely you would ever find yourself in court for taking a picture while voting, reports The New York Times.
If you're in a state where it's allowed, and you feel like sharing, snap away. Just be mindful of strangers at your polling station who might not be as eager to be part of your Election Day social media blitz. If you happen to be in one of the states where it's a no-go, there is no state which prohibits you from taking a selfie with your "I Voted" sticker. And whatever you do, wear a mask when you go to vote!