If you vote but don’t post a photo on Instagram, does it count? While it’s a lovely showing of civic pride, selfies with your ballot could get you in trouble – even if you are Justin Timberlake. So, before you pull the lever on Election Day, know the states that allow:
So, before you pull a lever or tap a touchscreen on Election Day, know which states allow no selfies, some selfies and all selfies.
Don’t even think about it
Put your phones away, because these states don’t allow photographs in polling places or voting booths, or both. Granted, the laws aren’t often enforced. (It’s more of a “someone gently asks you to stop” kind of thing.) But that doesn’t mean you should test the rules.
Alabama: No photos at polling places. That being said, no one’s been prosecuted and any violators will simply be asked to stop.
Arizona: You can’t take photos inside or within 75 feet of a polling place. You CAN take a photo of a ballot that was mailed to you.
Florida: No go in voting places. Yes to pics of mail-in ballots.
Georgia: Can’t take pics at a polling place, or of any ballots or voting equipment. The Secretary of State’s office says it “strongly discourage[s] ballot selfies.”
Illinois: It’s a felony to take pictures that show how you voted, and it’s also illegal to take pictures inside polling places. If you do get popped for a violation, the state Election Board says the case would be decided on the county level.
Iowa: No photos are allowed in the voting booths, but the law’s unclear on whether that also means polling places.
Maryland: Maryland goes a level beyond, and actually bans the use of any electronic communication devices. That, obviously, means you can’t take pics of ballots either.
Michigan: There’s a legal back-and-forth going on, but for now, no cameras in polling places.
Nevada: Can’t take pictures in polling places, because it’s considered photographing “the conduct of voting.”
New Jersey: Don’t share your ballot online and don’t take pictures. New Jersey law prohibits voters from showing their ballot to anyone else and officials say photographs aren’t allowed inside polling places.
New York: Nope. Last year, a federal judge even upheld a state law barring voters from taking photos of their marked ballots.
North Carolina: The only way you can take pictures is if you have the permission of the voter (you) – and the permission of the chief judge of the precinct (not you). So, it’s probably a pass.
Ohio: It’s illegal to show off your ballot online, so why bother? The state has prohibited that for years.
South Carolina: The word straight from the state’s Election Commission: “State law prohibits anyone from showing their ballot to another person. The use of cameras is not allowed inside the voting booth.”
South Dakota: No!
Tennessee: Tennessee’s laws are kinda unclear, because they state “no phones” but also have a mobile app to help with voting. However, the law also says you can’t take pictures or talk on the phone. Take a lesson from Justin Timberlake: It’s not worth the hassle.
Texas: No photos inside the booths or within 100 feet of the polling place. If you do get caught, you won’t be arrested, per se, but you will be asked to stop. And why would you want to inconvenience people with all of that?
West Virginia: Here’s the law: “No person may enter a voting booth with any recording or electronic device in order to record or interfere with the voting process.” So, basically, no selfies. However, once you’re outside the precinct, snap away.
Exercise selfie restraint
Lots of state laws don’t specifically cover voting booth pictures, but are pretty clear on marked ballots. There’s plenty of reasons why this is totally understandable, but the most important one has to do with vote buying. There’s no way anyone can know who you voted for unless you provide them with photo evidence.
Alaska: There’s a statute in the books prohibiting selfies with your ballot, but no one’s been prosecuted. The state says it’s considered creating a PSA reminding voters of ballot secrecy.
Louisiana: State law says voters may not “allow a ballot to be seen” or “announce the manner in which a person has cast his ballot.” So selfies are allowed, but not with a marked ballot.
Massachusetts: No selfies with your ballot, people. But here again, there’s little the state can do to enforce the law, says Brian McNiff, spokesman for the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
Minnesota: Two statues say showing others your marked ballot is a no-no. And that’s what taking a pic or a video does.
Mississippi: Just don’t in Mississippi. In 2008 & 2012, some teens who were voting for the 1st time broke the law. The Attorney General fined them $25. Your fine could be higher – up to $100, says Holly Robertson of the State Board of Elections.
Missouri: The law here, like the others in this list, deals with showing your ballot. So, Stephanie Fleming of the Secretary of State’s Office says, check with your polling place just to be sure before you start snapping.
Oklahoma: Officials advise against taking pictures of marked ballots, but you can snap photos inside a polling place. There have been efforts to allow ballot selfies, but so far, they’ve failed to get approval from the governor.
Utah: Go for it – but only if you haven’t marked your ballot yet.
Vermont: They don’t have a “no selfies or photos” policy in place, BUT they will fine you $1,000 if you show your ballot to another person with an apparent intention of revealing your vote.
Wisconsin: The state would rather you not take a pic with your marked ballot. Reid Magney of the Election Commission says he’s not aware of any prosecutions, but why open yourself up to a complaint?
Selfie expression is fine
Here’s the bottom line: Voting is a serious affair, and states would like to protect the sanctity of this American right. If you still simply must selfie, go ahead. Just consider the inimitable words of Ian Malcom from Jurassic Park: You may be so preoccupied with whether or not you could, you may not stop to think if you should.
Arkansas: The only law here is that you are allowed to cast your vote in private, says Daniel Schultz with the Board of Elections.
California: Snap away, Californians! The state just amended its laws to specify that “a voter may voluntarily disclose how he or she voted if that voluntary act does not violate any other law.”
Colorado: You’re good. Governor John Hickenlooper signed a “ballot selfie bill” in 2017 that permits voting day documentation.
Connecticut: Snap away.
Delaware: There’s no specific law against any of this, but officials do encourage people not to use their cellphones in polling places.
District of Columbia: “Discouraged but not illegal,” says Rachel Coll, information officer for the District’s Board of Elections.
Hawaii: Okay, so, you can take a selfie in the voting booth, and you can share photos of your marked ballot. However, according to Nedielyn Bueno of the Office of Elections, you can’t take selfies OUTSIDE the voting booth because polling places don’t allow the use of electronic devices.
Idaho: There are now laws against it, but photography is discouraged.
Indiana: The state enacted a law that banned ballot selfies. But a federal judge barred it from going into effect. So, you’re good to go … for now.
Kansas: Election Director Brian Caskey with the Board of Elections says there’s a law about ballot disclosure, but ballot selfies don’t fall under it.
Kentucky: Good to go.
Maine: Snap away.
Montana: Snap away.
Nebraska: Snap away.
New Hampshire: A federal appeals court ruled a statewide ballot selfie ban unconstitutional. So you’re good to go.
New Mexico: Do it for the ‘gram! Voters can take pictures of themselves and their ballots at polling places, says a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s Office – just as long as they don’t disturb normal operations or violate the privacy of others.
North Dakota: No issues here.
Oregon: There are no laws prohibiting pictures of your ballot.
Pennsylvania: The state has sent guidance to polling places that it is within people’s 1st Amendment rights to take selfies.
Rhode Island: Once you’re in the booth, you can take pictures. No can do outside the booth.
Virginia: You can take pictures, even of your completed ballot. But if your picture-taking disrupts voting or intimidates other voters, you can be removed from the polling place.
Washington: It’s not recommended, but you’re fine.
Wisconsin: Michael Haas of the state election commission tells CNN that yes, you may take a selfie, but workers may ask you to stop if you are creating a distraction. They also really suggest you don’t post a selfie with your marked ballot. You won’t get in trouble, but it will raise questions as to whether someone paid you to do so (which is majorly illegal).
Wyoming: Nothing says you can’t, but don’t be disruptive.
CNN’s Brandon Griggs, Paul Martucci, Leah Abucayan and Keenan Willard contributed to this report.