Snapping Pictures While You Vote Could Get You In Trouble with the Law

As you make your way to polling places today to cast your votes, you might want to look into your state’s laws before pulling out your camera and snapping photographs inside your voting booth. Certain states have pretty strict laws with regard to snapping and sharing photographs of ballots. Earlier this year, Wisconsin election officials specifically warned voters that sharing photos of ballots on Facebook or Twitter is a Class I felony, punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a $10K fine.

So how do you determine whether it’s safe for you to bust out your camera in your local polling place? Check out this handy chart put together by the Citizen Media Law Project. It lists the the specific photography laws for each of the 50 states, including whether you can bring your camera into the locations, whether you can snap photos inside, and whether you can photograph a ballot. Gizmodo has put together a similar list in text form.

Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, and West Virginia are states that prohibit any kind of recording device (e.g. cameras) inside polling places. The laws in some places are so strict that your smartphone will be confiscated even if you pull it out as a reference for your voting.

Delaware, Rhode Island, Wyoming are among the states that don’t have any written restrictions on photography.

For those of you living in states not listed above, you should probably check. If you see any friends Instagramming photographs of their vote, you can do them a favor by bringing them up to speed on your state’s photography laws — it could potentially save them from trouble with authorities.

Image credit: My Ballot by TalAtlas and booths by hlkljgk

  • Trausti Hraunfjörð

    Very strict enforcement of NO VOTING TRAIL the land of the “free” has in place(s).

  • sierrarobba

    A class 1 felony designation is typically the most serious felony in the states where this designation is used. For example, conviction for a crime in this class in Arizona can result in a sentence of 25 years to life in prison. In addition, the death penalty is an option if the crime committed was a murder. Punishment for such a crime committed in Virginia can be life in prison, the death penalty, and/or a fine up to $100,000 US Dollars (USD).

  • Peter

    What about taking a photo of your ballot if you’re a mail-in voter, while at home?

  • John Nathaniel Calvara

    So. The photo above…

  • eraserhead12

    my mom took a photo of my grandma voting for the first time, and some guy made her delete the pics lol.

  • Digital Media Law Project

    Since the presidential election the Rhode Island Board of Elections has told us that Rule 5(B) of its Rules and Regulations for Polling Place Conduct is interpreted to prohibit the filming or photographing of “any voted ballot by anyone.” Presumably this would bar a voter’s photograph of his or her own ballot.

    The text of Rule 5(B) reads: “Electronic recording of the election process is allowed inside the polling place as long as it is done outside of the railed or enclosed voting area. Electronic recording devices may not hinder the election process or compromise a voter’s right to cast a secret ballot by recording the specific votes(s) cast by any person.”