Snapping a Voting Booth Photo? Not So Fast

Check the laws in your state before a quick pic lands you in big trouble. 

Posted: 11/06/2012 10:11 AM EST

In this age of social media sharing, some voters may be tempted to whip out their smartphones this Election Day and document their voting experience for all the world to see. But before you ready your thumbs to snap that pic inside or outside your polling place, you may want to check your state’s laws so that this year’s voting experience remains memorable for all the right reasons.

While there is no hard and fast rule that encompasses all 50 states, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina and Texas all expressly prohibit the use of cameras and recording equipment inside polling places.

 Citizen Media Law Project recommends:

— Follow the Rules

Violating election laws could result in being removed from the polling place and, in some cases, criminal penalties.

— Be Discreet

Even if you are permitted to take photographs or video inside, you should be discreet and sensitive to the concerns of poll workers and other voters.

— Don’t Interfere With Voters or Disrupt the Process

Keep in mind that all states prohibit activities that interfere with the voting process or intimidate voters, and poll workers and other voters might see your photographing or videotaping as disruptive or intimidating. You should never photograph or film someone else’s ballot or get too close to other voters with your camera.

— Respect the Buffer Zone Outside

You can do more reporting outside of polling places; still, there are some things to keep in mind. Many states have restricted buffer zones: typically 100 feet outside the entrance to the polling place, but states vary. In these zones, you generally can’t loiter, interfere with voters, block the entrance or engage in any campaigning activity.


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 (Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

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