Secret ballot

It’s getting harder to keep a vote secret. I felt a little silly putting my ballot in the “secrecy sleeve” at the voting place today. It’s designed so that nobody can see how you voted when you’re putting your ballot into the counting machine, like Tom Emmer is doing in this Star Tribune photo.


Let’s take a closer look:


Alas, no surprises (you can click the image to see a larger version).

On Twitter today, there was a discussion on whether people should feel that someone asking how you voted — a friend, as opposed to the news media — should make you feel uncomfortable, as an invasion of privacy. What say you?

If someone asks me for whom I voted…Market Research

On the subject of privacy, Facebook is asking people to push the little button that tells them whether you voted…


Facebook is notorious for its inability (or unwillingness) to protect the privacy of the people who leave shreds of personal data around every time they click something on Facebook. There’s no indication what Facebook intends to do with this data — if anything — but perhaps we’ll learn whether Farmville users are more likely to vote than Mafia Wars participants. Did you click the button?

  • JackU

    I thought the same thing this morning. The sleeve was designed for a ballot that was about 3-4 inches shorter than the one in use today. So my Congressional Representative and I think the State Auditor were outside the vale of secrecy.

  • bsimon

    “Did you click the button?”


    A friend forwarded a GOTV video. I clicked to watch & it wanted to access my ‘data.’ Sorry, I’m not that interested. If you want to create & share a video to incent people to vote, or inform them about your positions, great. But to use it to collect contact info, or just track who’s watching it, is pretty sleazy, in my opinion.

  • John P.

    Apparently Tom Emmer knows who to vote for for the Soil and Water conservation board. That’s impressive. Outside of that, it looks like his ballot might tellus something about how he would govern. Straight party line!

  • Deneen

    I did click the button, only because my privacy is less important than getting the message out to vote. I did think it was genius to suggest a comparison of who was more likely to vote: Farmville, Mafia Wars, etc.

  • Lindsey

    I felt a little squeamish using Facebook’s “Did You Vote” button, but I figured it might be one more reminder to my little brother that he should vote today. Voter registration information is already public, and I’m proud to be known as a regular voter.

    The interesting thing about Facebook knowing who votes is that our information is linked to others, so there’s more of an understanding how how “networks” of voters behave, rather than being confined to summary statistics of how individuals behave.

  • Heather

    Meh. I had no problem clicking the FB button. I agree with Lindsey and Bob that they could probably sort the data in some interesting ways, but I took it as more of an “encourage others to vote” feature. When you click that you voted, your network is reminded to vote (if they haven’t already), plus there are the peer-pressure features of a) being able to see which of your friends have clicked the “I voted” button — no way to verify that they have actually voted, or to count friends who have voted but not clicked the button — and b) watching the counter tally up the number of clicks. Seems like fun, to me.

  • Cynthia

    I’m disappointed in MPR for allowing this shot of Tom Emmer’s ballot. So the Strib took/published pictures of the candidates voting…is it really “good journalism” to republish with high resolution and the ability to zoom in and see how he voted? I don’t think so…even if it’s what he wanted.

  • Kassie

    We told media today that a) they had to stay 6 feet from all voting machines and booths, b) they can’t photograph a ballot at all and c) everyone in the pictures must give verbal permission for the picture to be taken. At least 2 of 3 were violated in the picture above it seems.