Be honest: Election Day often starts out as a drag. It’s time-consuming. It’s held on a really inconvenient day. There’s the depressing thought that your vote might not work out in your favor… But once you walk into your polling place and cast your vote, you feel invigorated. Accomplished. And ready to celebrate, which, in 2018, means snapping a selfie of yourself and your ballot and uploading it on social media to serve the great news to your friends. But you probably don’t know if you can take selfies at your polling place, considering elections are government-regulated events and all, right? Well, it’s a good thing I’ve looked into the topic for you. Here’s what you need to know.
Frankly, taking selfies in polling places is really murky. According to the Associated Press, it all depends on what state you’re in. There are reportedly just 21 states (and the District of Columbia) that will allow you to flick it up at polling stations — Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.
By a show of hands, who’s disqualified? Yeah, me, too. But there might still be some options for you to capture the moment, which I’ll get into shortly.
As for those who do live in states without laws banning ballot selfies, there are still some things you should keep in mind. Although they’re legal in Louisiana, some legislators are “not fond” of them, so if you happen to catch some side eyes on Election Day, that’s likely why. The same thing goes for Washington. Similarly, Minnesota also allows photos, but you can’t show them to other voters — no matter how cute your selfie might be. And in Utah, photographing other people’s ballots are illegal, so taking joint ballot selfie with a friend is a total no-go. To be totally safe, check out your state’s regulation on photography at the polls here.
On the other hand, there are 16 states where ballot selfies are explicitly illegal. According to the AP, they include Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Doing so could earn you a hefty money penalty or even jail time in states like Missouri and Illinois, so resist your camera phone trigger finger with all your might.
If you haven’t seen your state yet, well, it’s likely because selfie legality is still unclear there. Take Delaware, for example: Cell phones aren’t allowed in the voting booth, but it’s not strictly enforced. Or Ohio, where voters are restricted from showing others how they voted, but it’s unclear how selfies are handled. If this situation applies to you, it’d probably be in your best interest to avoiding taking photos altogether. But you’ll at least get an adorable “I Voted” sticker at your polling place that you can snap it up with thousands of times over!
It doesn’t get much better than that, and you’ll feel just as accomplished. Happy Election Day!