Will Selfie-Indulgence Cause ‘Havoc’ At The Polls On Election Day?

Lawyers asked a federal court yesterday to overrule state law and permit New York voters to take “selfie photos” at the polls next Tuesday.

In the Daily News, Victoria  Bekiempis writes about how “three people have sued for the right in Manhattan federal court— arguing that rules prohibiting ballot selfies and sharing them violate their constitutional right to free speech.”

“They want a judge to issue an order that would stop poll workers from enforcing these rules.”

While the article states that it is a crime to show a completed ballots to others, the actual state law is provided below. In limited situations, voters are permitted to bring others to the poll with them as follows:

Secret Ballot. The operating of the ballot scanner by the voter shall be secret and obscured from all other persons, with the exception of those who are assisting the voter and children under the age of sixteen accompanying their voting parents or guardians (N.Y. Elec. Law §8-300; infra, for voters in need of assistance).

Voter Has a Disability a. The Inspectors shall assist any voter who informs the board, under oath, that s/he (i) cannot read; (ii) cannot see; or (iii) cannot mark the ballot due to physical disability (N.Y. Elec. Law § 8-306). b. Any voter who needs assistance to vote by reason of blindness, disability or inability to read or write may be given assistance by a person of the voter’s choice, with the exception of: (i) voter’s employer or agent of the employer or (ii) officer or agent of the voter’s union. (Id. § 8-306(3)). c. Prior to assisting the voter at the Privacy Booth or Ballot Marking Device, the chosen assistant must take an oath that he or she will not persuade or reveal the vote of the person he or she assisting (Id. at § 8-306(5)). d. A voter who is entitled to assistance in voting and does not select a particular person may be assisted by two Inspectors not of the same political party (Id. at § 8-306(7)).

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