B12 Solipsism

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Can I Photograph My Ballot? Probably Not

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 Democratic Primary Ballot

Democratic Primary Ballot

I’d read before that the law was squishy about whether photographing one’s ballot was legal or tolerated, or not. Since I looked this law up today, I’m posting it here.

On this page, we provide a list of election laws, websites, and contact information for election officials in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Contacting your state election officials is a great way to get information about what your state allows in terms of documenting the vote. As you learn new information, please contact us and let us know how your state is handling these requests, so we can share that information on this site.

This page begins with a chart summarizing the law in each state in order to determine whether your state allows recording inside polling places. Click on your state for specific information and notes. For general guidelines on photography and videography in and around polling places, see the general Documenting the Vote 2012 page.

Select a state below to jump to its relevant information.

llinois

Contact Information: Illinois State Board of Elections Springfield Office: (217) 782-4141 Chicago Office: (312) 814-6440 E-mail: webmaster@elections.il.gov

Relevant Law:

Illinois Compiled Statutes, Chapter 5, Article 29

10 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/29-4 – Intimidation of voter

10 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/29-9 – Unlawful observation of voting

Illinois Compiled Statutes, Chapter 5, Article 17 10 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/17-29 – 100-foot zone

Notes:

10 Ill. Comp. Stat 5/29-9 states that “any person who knowingly marks his ballot or casts his vote on a voting machine or voting device so that it can be observed by another person, and any person who knowingly observes another person lawfully marking a ballot or lawfully casting his vote on a voting machine or voting device, shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.” It is not clear whether this provision would apply to display of a ballot after it has been marked, or just to the actual act of marking the ballot. If the latter interpretation were followed, it would still be unlawful to livestream your activities in the voting booth, and possibly to post video of your filling out your ballot.

(click here to continue reading State Law: Documenting the Vote 2012 | Digital Media Law Project.)

Ancient Ritual
Ancient Ritual

As far as I can tell, nobody has been prosecuted in Illinois for photographing an actual ballot since smartphones became prevalent, but to my non-lawyer eyes, the law is not crystal clear. Even still, why risk it? 

And from a 2014 article:

Illinois: According to state election code, voters are not allowed to take pictures of their marked ballots and show them to other people. Doing so could result in a class 4 felony. Bernadette Harrington, legal counsel for the Illinois State Board of Elections, said that there is no specific prohibition on photography in a polling place, although taking a photo of another person’s marked ballot is barred. Verdict: Ballot photography banned. Polling place photography allowed.

(click here to continue reading A Guide To Not Getting Arrested When You Use Your Cell Phone On Election Day.)

Written by Seth Anderson

March 16th, 2016 at 10:25 am

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