If you’re into social media, maybe you’ve noticed them — photos of other people’s ballots from today’s election, posted on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
Perhaps you’ve also noticed the comments that followed, warning that such postings are illegal. And articles have popped up throughout Election Day saying those posters could be photo-sharing their way to jail.
Prohibitions against documenting how you voted have their roots in vote-buying scams. Snapping a photo could be a good way to show a vote buyer you voted the way you were paid to. But allegations of law-breaking don’t seem to be deterring those who can’t wait to show their social media networks that they voted—and in some cases, how they voted.
Laws regarding photography inside polling places vary from state to state, so we checked with the secretaries of state offices in Kentucky and Indiana to see what’s OK around here.
Valerie Kroeger, spokesperson for Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson said showing someone else how you voted is a Class D felony. However, contrary to some online claims, it will not invalidate your vote. Uploading a photo of your blank ballot before you fill it out is just fine.
Lynn Sowards Zellen, spokesperson for Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, said it’s fine to take and post a picture of your completed ballot in Kentucky — as long as you’re not in the picture yourself. The law in Kentucky hinges around whether you are “recording the identity of a voter.”
Zellen is quick to clarify that the State Elections Board does not encourage photography inside the voting booth.
For further clarification, please see the slideshow above for WFPL’s Handy Vote-Photographing Guide.