Instagram and Twitpic have changed the world so much so that it is now not an uncommon occurrence to see people posting pictures of everything from pics of plates at restaurants to blinged-out fingernails. But an Election Day word of caution: Don’t post pictures of your partially or fully completed ballot.
Turns out it’s a misdemeanor in several states, including California, where election code states: “After the ballot is marked, a voter shall not show it to any person in such a way as to reveal its contents.”
Still, we live in a social — and increasingly digitally social — world, so pics of ballots are an inevitability that may be unavoidable, short of asking voters to surrender their phones before entering the voting booth. We’ve already seen several posted via Instagram this morning and even one YouTube video uploaded by a watchdogging citizen who wanted to document alleged electronic ballot irregularities.
Do you think people should be able to share pics of their ballots? Is it any different from an informal exit poll?
For now, though, remember tt’s OK to communicate your excitement about voting via social media, but instead of risking trouble with Johnny Law, just post pictures of yourself with your “I Voted” stickers. In fact, we’re asking readers to do just that. Share yours, too, using the hashtag #ivotedCV and we could feature it in our coverage.
Gizmodo has posted this handy state-by-state guide to posting (or not) ballot pics.
UPDATE: The Riverside County Registar’s Office also directed us to this PDF outlining the state’s position on cameras and video equipment at polling places:
“The Secretary of State’s office has historically taken the position that the use of cameras or video equipment at polling places is prohibited, though there may be circumstances where election officials could permit such use. For example, if a credentialed media organization wants to photograph or film a candidate voting at a polling place, this is something you may permit, provided you ensure such activity does not interfere with voting, is not intimidating to any voters or election workers, and that the privacy of voters is not compromised.”