Voter selfies will have their day in a federal appeals court as the judges decide whether to uphold a lower court ruling in New Hampshire that said a state law essentially outlawing ballot selfies was unconstitutional.
The law, in place since 1979, bans a voter from showing his or her ballot to someone else with the intention of disclosing how he or she plans to vote, said the Wall Street Journal. The law was expanded in 2014 to include "taking a digital image or photograph of his or her marked ballot and distributing or sharing the image via social media."
Lawmakers argued that the law and expansion was needed to guard against hypothetical vote-buying schemes in which ballot selfies serve as proof of a person's vote.
"The new high-tech methods of showing a ballot absolutely could be used to further a serious vote-buying scheme," said New Hampshire State Rep. Timothy Horrigan, the bill's sponsor, according to Boston.com.
Leon Rideout, another state representative, quickly challenged the law by taking a picture of his ballot and posting it on Twitter, leading the state's attorney general's office to threaten him with prosecution.
Last year, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire took Rideout's side and sued the state on his behalf and other who have taken pictures of their ballots, noted Boston.com. The organization argued that the state could not prove the government's interest outlawing the pictures.
New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner acknowledged in court documents that there was "little evidence of vote buying and voter coercion schemes currently being executed with the use of digital imagery," according to the Journal.
The state argued, though, that despite the lack of evidence, there was still a compelling reason to prevent the possibility of problems arising and to protect the "purity and integrity of our elections" by ensuring "the longstanding tradition of the secret ballot."
The social media app Snapchat has joined the suit, filing an amicus brief in the side of Rideout, noted Boston.com. Snapchat's attorneys argued that "digital media and ballot selfies are simply the latest way that voters, especially young voters, engage with the political process and show their civic pride."
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.