Politics2020 Election


Vote Smarter 2020: Can You Take A Picture Of Your Ballot?

Newsy's Vote Smarter 2020 aims to provide you with all the information you'll need to safely and successfully cast your ballot this year.
Posted at 12:50 PM, Oct 09, 2020

Is taking a picture of your ballot illegal?

"So in a number of places, taking a picture of your ballot is illegal. In many places, posting that picture of your ballot or of you being in the voting booth, violates election laws," said Khalilah Brown-Dean, an associate professor of political science and Senior Director for Inclusive Excellence at Quinnipiac University.

Some states, like Illinois, have laws prohibiting voters from showing their completed ballots to anyone else. Others, like Delaware and Nevada, don't allow the use of cell phones at polling places. 

"In about half the states, it's not a problem. It's not illegal, or it's expressly protected political speech," said Janine Parry, a professor of political science and Arkansas poll director at the University of Arkansas.

Colorado and Florida are among the states where legislation specifically allows people to take a picture with their ballot.

But the issue of "ballot selfies" in 2020 is unclear because some state laws are written specifically for polling places. Millions of Americans will be filling out their ballots at home, where a ban on cell phone use, for example, won't really apply.

"Everyone loves a good selfie. But you don't want your enthusiasm to share with your friends violate the existing laws," said Brown-Dean.