On July 1, a new Indiana law took effect aiming to prohibit people from taking selfies of their ballots after they have voted and posting them on social media websites like Facebook or Twitter.
The law, Senate Enforcement Act 466, says that ballot selfies can only be taken to document and report any malfunctions of the voting machines to precinct officers, election boards or divisions.
Opponents of the law say that it is a violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution. On Aug. 27, the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana challenging the new law.
Those in favor of the law say that being able to post selfies of ballots threatens the privacy of the voting booth, and can be used to earn payments for voting for a specific candidate.
Indiana District 27 Rep. Sheila Klinker, who voted in favor of SEA 466, said that even though the threat of buying the public’s votes is minimal, there are other issues at stake, namely maintaining the long held tradition of privacy in the voting booth.
“To keep the privacy of your voting booth alive, it’s been a tradition that has been very important not only in Indiana, but throughout the country. And I think it should remain that way,” said Klinker.
Klinker also said that most of the concern was not directed at coercion, but to people who post pictures on social media to show how they voted when many people do not want to know.
This is not the first time a law prohibiting ballot selfies has been challenged. On Aug. 11, the ACLU of New Hampshire won its case after challenging the state’s law banning selfies. Voters can post their pictures in Maine, Oregon and Utah.