Cameras in the ballot booth

Can you take pictures or video of your ballot?

YouTube is encouraging people to take video or pictures of their completed ballot and send it to them, making a note that people should check their local laws. Good idea.

In Wisconsin, it’s a felony to post a picture of a completed ballot on Facebook, although nobody can seem to remember anyone actually being charged with the offense.

There was great confusion in 2008 in Minnesota about whether this was illegal in Minnesota. At the time, the Citizen Media Law Project got an explanation from the Secretary of State’s Office:

While there is no state or federal law that strictly prohibits the use of cameras or other video equipment in the polling place to record an individual’s own voting experience, the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State strongly discourages voters from using cameras or video recorders in the polling place for the following reasons:

Voters have a right to privacy-both as to how an individual has voted as well as whether or not an individual has voted. Either or both of these could be compromised by pictures or video. In addition, other voters’ objections to being photographed could lead to disruptions within the polling place.

We are expecting record turnout this year, which means that there may be lines and polling places may be crowded. Voters have a right to take the time they need to vote, but should not take extra time to take pictures.

But by this year, that had been cleared up (update: at least for absentee ballots):


Subdivision 1.Violation.

No individual shall intentionally:

(a) make or sign any false certificate required by this chapter;

(b) make any false or untrue statement in any application for absentee ballots;

(c) apply for absentee ballots more than once in any election with the intent to cast an illegal ballot;

(d) exhibit a ballot marked by that individual to any other individual;

(update) But for typical voting, you can snap and post to your heart’s content, although the secretary of state would rather you didn’t.

So do this. Or don’t:

(h/t: Peter Brickwedde)