California must awkwardly defend obsolete anti-ballot selfie law

Enlarge / A Los Angeles polling place as seen in 2012. (credit: Stephen Velasco)

On Wednesday, ACLU lawyers will square off against attorneys representing the California Secretary of State, asking a federal judge in San Francisco to impose a temporary restraining order on an already-overturned state law that forbids ballot selfies.

Two days earlier, various California chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit to essentially accelerate the effective date of a new law that specifically legalizes ballot selfies. The new law was signed by the governor on Sept. 29, 2016. As of now, however, that law does not take effect until Jan. 1, 2017.

Given that America conducts federal elections from the state and local level, the nation has no single election law. Instead, the US has a patchwork of ballot selfie legality. In late September 2016, the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a similar New Hampshire state law that banned the practice, calling it “facially unconstitutional.”

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