Tags: appeals court | review | new hampshire | ballot-selfie | law

Boston Court to Review New Hampshire's Ballot Selfie Law

Image: Boston Court to Review New Hampshire's Ballot Selfie Law

(AP Images)

By    |   Monday, 12 Sep 2016 02:28 PM

In a first, a federal appeals court in Boston will hear arguments on a New Hampshire law that bans sharing photos of their marked ballots online, according to The Wall Street Journal.

According to a law, which came into effect two years ago, posting a photo of a completed ballot is a violation punishable by a fine of up to $1,000. Though it was struck down a year ago, the state appealed to the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston, which said it will take up the case on Tuesday.

It has been declared illegal in New Hampshire since 1979 for a voter to show his ballot to someone else to influence his vote. An amendment was made in 2014 where state legislators included a ban on "taking a digital image or photograph of his or her marked ballot and distributing or sharing the image via social media," the report stated.

Snapchat Inc, a social media organization, defended ballot selfies saying it was a "right" if used with patriotic hashtags and filters.

"The ballot selfie captures the very essence of that process as it happens — the pulled lever, the filled-in bubble, the punched-out chad — and thus dramatizes the power that one person has to influence our government," Snapchat wrote in an April brief filed in the case, as reported by CNN Money.

New Hampshire appealed the ruling to the First Circuit after a lower court found in August 2015 that state officials were unable to prove that ballot selfies facilitated vote buying.

William Gardner, the New Hampshire Secretary of State, whose office had pushed for the ban, had to eat his words. Gardner, in a statement said, there was "little evidence of vote buying and voter coercion schemes currently being executed with the use of digital imagery."

Challenging the 2014 law, lawyers for three New Hampshire voters approached the First Circuit to put an end to the speculation that ballot selfies influence elections, the report stated.

Andrew Langlois, one of the voters, who is a part of the lawsuit, thought someone was playing a prank when he received a call from the New Hampshire attorney general's office, informing him that he was under investigation for posting a ballot selfie on social media.

Langlois and two others could be slapped a fine of $1,000, if the law is reinstated.
Though many states prevented voters from showing marked ballots, New Hampshire was the first state to prohibit ballot selfies.

On the contrary, five other states — Maine, Oregon, Utah, Arizona, and California — allow voters to share photos of their ballots since 2011.

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In a first, a federal appeals court in Boston will hear arguments on a New Hampshire law that bans sharing photos of their marked ballots online, according to The Wall Street Journal.
appeals court, review, new hampshire, ballot-selfie, law
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2016-28-12
Monday, 12 Sep 2016 02:28 PM
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