(RNN) – For a lot of people, a simple “I Voted” sticker isn’t enough. They want a picture, for Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or wherever, to prove to everyone they did their civic duty.
But be careful about that.
More than a third of states outright ban polling place photography of some kind or another.
Some of those bans are more limited, like in Iowa, where “use of cameras” isn’t allowed specifically in the voting booth. Others are more expansive, such as in Texas, where ”persons are not allowed to use wireless communications devices” within 100 feet of voting stations.
And then there’s Illinois, which classifies casting your ballot so that it “can be observed by another person” as a Class 4 felony punishable by as many as three years in prison. Do not post a picture of yourself voting to Instagram in Illinois.
On the other hand, some states say it’s just fine – or, at least, have no laws on the books outlawing it.
Colorado, Nebraska and Hawaii are among the small handful of states where the practice has been explicitly allowed. Hawaii’s HB 27 even states that voters will not be prohibited from sharing a picture of their ballot “via social media or other means.”
To see if you’re clear to snap away under your state’s “selfie ballot” statutes, check below:
Legal, full stop: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire (a state law banning the practice was rejected by a federal appeals court and the Supreme Court declined to take it up last year), New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming
Legal, kind of: North Carolina (if you have the permission of the chief judge of the precinct, which seems like a long shot, but is technically possible), Oklahoma (it doesn’t appear to be explicitly prohibited by election law, though officials don’t encourage it) and Vermont (election law states that a voter who “allows his or her ballot to be seen by another person with an apparent intention of letting it be known how he or she is about to vote” can be fined $1,000 - so probably fine, as long as you post something after your vote has been cast)
Not legal, kind of: District of Columbia (regulations allow varieties of polling place photography, but explicitly say “you may not capture any close-up image of a ballot or a voter’s selection on the ballot”), Louisiana (prohibitions include “announcing the manner in which a person has cast their ballot” and “allowing a ballot to be seen," but technically a picture of yourself would be OK), Minnesota (nothing specifically banning photos, but election law contains language about not showing marked ballots to others), Mississippi (a law does not appear to specifically prohibit it, but officials say photos shouldn’t be taken of a marked ballot) and Tennessee (a bill has been passed to allow it after Justin Timberlake’s voting selfie brought the issue to the fore in 2016, but it apparently hasn’t been signed into law)
Not legal: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey (the state assembly passed a law allowing it, but it didn’t make it out of committee in the state senate), New York, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and West Virginia
Unclear: Indiana (a federal judge issued an injunction against a previous law banning the act, but language under IC 3-11-8-17.5 of the state’s 2018 election codes says it is still prohibited), Missouri (election law doesn’t appear to address it, and state policy has been described in somewhat contradictory terms by the secretary of state’s office), Pennsylvania (it’s sort of a county-by-county thing) and Wisconsin (probably best not to do it)