Here we are the day before the big Election and it seems to have snuck up on us quicker than we anticipated.
With voting in an election comes great responsibility, and our attentions are turning towards none other than selfies in regards to proper voter conduct.
In our era filled with technology and social media, we must factor in the selfie phenomenon. Over the years there has been ample controversy over photographing oneself voting.
In fact, every state has their own law addressing ballot photos. While it may be legal to take a selfie of you and your ballot in Nebraska, it is considered a misdemeanor in Colorado.
So we have to ask. What is so bad about selfies?
Those in favor of allowing ballot photography argue two main points; it is our Constitutional right, and it boosts young voter turnout rates.
Technically, photography can be categorized under free speech. Taking a photo of a ballot is a form of political expression, thus violating the First Amendment to prohibit voters to engage in sharing their political beliefs.
Additionally, civic engagement influences other voters to vote. By participating in a ballot selfie, young voters in particular are encouraged to get out to vote!
The other side of the controversy advocates for ballot secrecy, and discouraging any vote-buying misconduct.
Ensuring voter privacy during an election is of high importance. Voting is a private ordeal and voters should feel safe to make their own decisions when electing a candidate. Broadcasting it on social media can create an uneasy environment because an individuals’ decision comes under scrutiny of the public sphere.
Those in opposition also argue that this can open the door to vote buying. Photographs would be evidentiary proof to buy votes from citizens. Overall that could compromise the integrity of an election.
As a voter be sure to know the rules regarding selfies in your precinct prior to snapping a quick pic. Social media platforms such as Snapchat are advocating for a change in the current policy, so there may be changes in the future.
For tomorrow, express your political views outside of the polls, and more than anything, don’t forget to get out and vote!