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State Election Officials Put The Kibosh On Ballot Selfies

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(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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Voting, as we all know, is not just our greatest privilege as citizens, but also a great opportunity to define our personal brand to our friends and followers. As Hillary, Bernie and the Donald duke it out in primaries across the country, an equally important Election Day fight has been underway—the battle over the ballot selfie. "Ballot selfies," or camera phone pics snapped from the voting booth, have been under fire from an election infrastructure that has long banned photography at the polls. Snapchat entered the fray last month when they filed an amicus brief in a New Hampshire ballot selfie case, writing "ballot selfies are the latest in a long historical tradition of voters sharing their civic enthusiasm—and their votes—with their social networks."

Now, in anticipation of our own June 7 primary, the great state of California has spoken out on this important issue. Their answer, it seems, is a resounding no.

"The secretary of state's office has historically taken the position that the use of cameras or video equipment at polling places is prohibited," Jana Lean, the state's election chief, wrote in a Monday memo to county registrars of voters. And that won't be changing anytime soon. "Although there have been coverage in the media surrounding the use of cameras at polling places, our guidance will remain as it has in past years," she wrote.

According to the L.A. Times, state election officials have backed up their decision with references to a handful of state laws pertaining to ballot privacy, including one that makes things pretty clear, saying that "After the ballot is marked, a voter shall not show it to any person in such a way as to reveal its contents."

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So, it seems that you, dear reader, will have to be pretty sneaky if you still feel compelled to document your ballot this June at the polls. In the meantime, we will leave larger existential questions about the purpose and validity of a vote that isn't captured in pixels and shared with one's social networks to the philosophers.