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If You Live in These States, It’s Illegal to Instagram Your Ballot

Tue, 11/06/2012 - 9:45am

Instagram recently set a record for most-photographed event with Hurricane Sandy, but Tuesday’s election might be on pace to top that: Already, a search for “#vote” brings up more than 515,000 photos, and it’s not even noon eastern time. But if you’re thinking about adding a photo of your ballot to Instagram (or Twitter or Facebook), you might want to think again. Some states expressly forbid recording of any kind inside polling places.

Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina, Texas and West Virginia all have laws banning photography or videography in polling places, according to the Citizen Media Law Project.

In many other states, elections officials have taken hard stances against recording inside a polling place, though it’s not legally forbidden.

In some instances, it’s acceptable to photograph your ballot before you fill it out, but not after. Those rules date from past concerns about vote-buying.

And in at least one state, voters are being told they can’t use their phones in the polling place at all — not even to bring an electronic note to help remember the lesser-known candidates for whom they’d like to vote.

Translation: It’s totally kosher to Instagram, record video, tweet, post to Facebook or play Angry Birds while you’re waiting to vote. But once you’re inside your polling place, it may be smart to put the phone away until you’re done voting.

You can, however, use your smartphone to figure out where to vote.

For more helpful advice on recording Election Day happenings, watch Citizen Media Law Project’s video below. You should also consult your state’s election board for the final say on any recording laws.

Have you encountered any smartphone-related troubles while voting?

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November 06, 2012

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