Can A Ballot Selfie Get You in Trouble?
Voter selfies are all over social media right now, but most of them don't include the actual ballot. This is what will happen if you post a ballot selfie in Texas.
You're in the clear if you post a mail-in ballot selfie here. Texas is one of several states that will allow social media posts that feature mail-in ballots, but pictures with in-person ballots are banned.
I've seen several pictures that show voters dropping ballots off at the mailbox and those are just fine in Texas. It's the ones at early-voting locations that could get you in trouble, and selfies at polling locations on November 3rd will be taboo too.
Polling locations don't allow phones beyond a certain point, so it's pretty much impossible to take a ballot selfie at the voting booth anyway, not to mention the fact that voting systems are usually electronic and it's not feasible to hold up the touchscreen to get in the selfie frame. That's nice because hundreds of voters at the polls probably don't know the rules about ballot selfies, and the cell phone ban inside the voting area prevents them from accidentally snapping a photo and getting into trouble later.
Ballot selfie rules are hard to enforce and they've been challenged in court, but states are creating them anyway.
Do you really want to see a picture of a social media friend's ballot that shows who they voted for? I don't. Ethics and legalities aside, Business Insider said "voters taking time to snap photos or selfies at polls could lead to longer lines and less efficient service at in-person voting locations."
Mail-in ballots have to be postmarked by Tuesday, November 3rd by 7:00 p.m. and received no later than Wednesday, November 4th, by 5:00 p.m. A selfie does prove that you dropped it off, so it does serve as good record-keeping. Early voting in person ends Friday, October 30th.
Just vote! That's the most important thing.