Judge overturns ban on ballot selfies

(credit: Joe Schlabotnik)

Democracy in the Hoosier State will live another day after a federal judge declared Indiana’s “ballot selfies law” unconstitutional. The measure barred constitutionally protected speech, US District Judge Sarah Evans Barker ruled while blocking Indiana from enforcing the measure that carries up to 30 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Indiana lawmakers approved the legislation, which became effective July 1, based on the contention that a ban would prevent vote buying and voter coercion while maintaining the integrity of the electoral process and secrecy of voters’ ballots. The American Civil Liberties Union sued to overturn the measure, which banned photographing your marked ballot and distributing it “using social media or by any other means.”

“The State has entirely failed to identify any such problem in Indiana relating to or evidencing vote buying, voter fraud, voter coercion, involuntary ballot disclosures, or an existing threat to the integrity of the electoral process,” the judge ruled (PDF) this week.

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