Know your rights if you plan to take a ballot selfie

Maybe it is because selfies are taking over the world. Or maybe it is because this particular election is historic for the fact that a woman is running with a legit shot at winning. Or maybe it is that this election is by far the most bizarre and contentious is US history. Whatever the reason, this is the year of ballot selfies like we’ve never seen.

Scrolling through my newsfeed on Twitter and Facebook, I am seeing images of proud men and women who took selfies in voting booths across the nation, like this one from my friend Aussa who lives in Denver, Colorado.

Ballot Selfie

With ballot selfies popping up everywhere, I was curious if this practice is legal in Maine. Mostly because I may want to do it too!

Here is what I found out.

There are only a few states that ballot selfies are actually legal in the United States, and lucky for you, Maine is one of them. The other states are split between definitely not legal and murky gray area. Here is a handy map I made that shows which state ballot selfies are legal, not legal, or iffy at best.

Map

NOTE: Massachusetts is incorrectly labeled as legal. Selfie ballots are actually illegal there.

Ballot selfies are not a new phenomenon, in fact, the BDN has written extensively about this before. In 2015, Matt Stone wrote, “As for ballot selfies, Maine doesn’t have a specific law barring them, but ballots are not public documents, and it’s a crime to make unauthorized copies of them.”

If you plan to take a ballot selfie in this historic election then be mindful about what you’re doing and consider these precautions:

  1. Don’t make a big deal about it. While you’re behind that curtain go ahead and snap a photo but be discreet so that you don’t freak out the voter next to you.
  2. It is probably not a smart idea to get a close-up image of your filled-out ballot. Just getting an image of you in the act of voting is really what the spirit of the ballot selfie is all about. Most ballot selfies don’t show detailed information on the ballot because that is not what this is about.
  3. If someone stops you and challenges your right to take a ballot selfie then assert your rights. There is no law in Maine that makes ballot selfies illegal, but people trying to stop you from voting, demanding to see your ballot, or trying to take your ballot away from you IS illegal and that person needs to be reported to your election officials and the FBI.

If you find yourself in a situation in which you need to report voter intimidation, long wait times, disqualifications, machine breakdowns, etc. please report it by texting “Electionland” to 68966 or fill out the online reporting form.

So, now that you know the ins and outs of ballot selfies in Maine the only thing left to do is get out and VOTE!