When online denizens post everything from food photos to pet pics on social media, it stands to reason that they'll be posting their completed ballots. But in some states, they are breaking the law.
Talk show host Sean Hannity didn't surprise anyone with the contents of his ballot when he tweeted a photo of it. What may be a surprise is that very act appeared to break the law.
The ballot that the Fox News Channel host tweeted showed him voting for Mitt Romney on the Conservative Party line, and continuing to vote for Conservatives across the undercard. Hannity is far from alone. Pew Research has just released data that says that 22 percent of registered voters have posted their voting preferences on social media.
Yet New York State law says that it's illegal for someone to reveal the contents of a prepared ballot, perhaps a pre-social media era statute designed to guard against voter intimidation. It's a misdemeanor that would be up to a district attorney to prosecute, said John Conklin, spokesman for the New York State Board of Elections. In fact, many states, including Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada and Texas, forbid photographic and recording devices in polling places. Wisconsin takes it one step further: Posting photos of a completed ballot on social media there is election fraud, otherwise known as a Class I felony.
The idea of showing off a completed ballot on Twitter, Instagram or some other social media site wasn't considered by the Founding Fathers. But it was a hot topic for discussion online early Tuesday, and the website gizmodo.com published a guide of how individual state laws might affect such an act.