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Want to video your vote? That could be illegal.

As Daniel Victor reports in The New York Times:

To many, there’s no better celebration of democracy than a voting booth photograph. It’s the moment political talk turns to political action, one younger voters are especially eager to record and share with friends.

But in several states, the right of free speech has clashed with the question of whether allowing photographs in the voting booth [potentially showing the voter’s completed ballot, or even video of it being cast] could compromise elections.

The basic idea behind these bans is that if people can prove how they voted, then they could be coerced or bribed to prove that they voted a certain way.

The social network Snapchat, in an amicus brief challenging New Hampshire’s ban on ballot selfies argues that ballot selfies are “the latest way that voters, especially young voters, engage with the political process.” “It is precisely because a ballot selfie proves how a voter has exercised her franchise that it is an unmatched expression of civic engagement,” Snapchat’s brief argued. “There is, simply put, no substitute for this speech.”

These laws vary by state, and guides are available from the Digital Media Law Project and The Huffington Post.

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