‘Ballot Selfies’ Now Legal in Michigan
On Monday, October 24, Judge Janet T. Neff of the United States District for the Western District of Michigan ruled that state law must not prohibit Michigan voters from taking "ballot selfies".
The preliminary injunction in the case, which was filed in federal court on September 9, says that state law must not prohibit plaintiff Joel Crookston and other Michigan voters from photographing their own marked ballots and posting them on social media.
"This is a big victory for a simple but powerful act of free speech," said Stephen Klein, Pillar of Law attorney and lead counsel in the case. "Under this ruling, Michigan voters may take pictures of their own marked ballots and post them to social media without fear of fines and imprisonment."
Judge Neff rejected Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson's arguments that "ballot selfies" could distract or intimidate voters in polling places or facilitate vote-buying. Judge Neff said that other laws already prohibit and punish these activities.
"This is not a case about disrupting the election process, but simply making sure the rules don't go too far," said Klein. "Under this ruling, a voter still cannot show his or her marked ballot to others in a polling place, but may take a photo of it in the voting booth before putting it in the envelope and submitting it. It's that simple."