Taking pictures of any kind in a ballot booth was banned in New Hampshire since 2014.
This decision has been viewed as a very controversial law because it is seen as taking away from citizens’ abilities to express their freedom of speech.
As of Sept. 28, 2016, this law has now been overturned by the federal court. Citizens of New Hampshire now have the right to take pictures with their ballot to keep personally or to share with friends.
This includes standard pictures on a phone, as well as the popular app Snapchat.
Chris Handman, who is the general counsel for Snapchat, was later quoted in the New York Times and said, “Today’s ruling is a victory for free speech in the digital age.”
Maureen Moran, a senior at Keene State College, expressed some understanding for the original law to an extent.
Moran said that she has never really wanted to take a picture with her ballot personally, but she can understand why some people would be annoyed by the [previous] law or feel that it takes away from their rights.
When asked how she feels overall about the history of the law and how she thinks the issue should be addressed or let go, Moran said, “I understand not being able to post your picture to share with the whole world for privacy reasons, but I don’t see any reason why you can’t keep it for personal use.”
Moran touched on some other points such as why it would make sense for a citizen to want to keep a picture of their ballot.
Moran said, “If you are 18 and are proud that you just voted, I can see why you would want to keep a picture.”
Phoebe Buckman, a senior at Keene State College, said she thinks that the law history is slightly misleading, due to the access of information already online. With the increasing amount of information being leaked, Buckman expressed some confusion with how the federal court was so concerned about citizens sharing their vote alongside all of this other information already leaked.
When asked how she feels about the law history in the state and if people should be able to take pictures with their ballot, Buckman said, “I think it is a little weird because they put the ballot online beforehand, but it makes sense why you wouldn’t be able to put your vote online because it is supposed to be confidential and that is why you put it in the box without showing anyone.”
Buckman also said that she feels as if this law is one that isn’t on the minds of many people or her own.
When asked if she knew about the law and its history, Buckman said, “I feel like I knew about the law, but it is not something that has crossed my mind recently.”
Madison Strausser, a senior at Keene State College, also weighed in with her thoughts on the law in New Hampshire and whether she believes it should be swung one way or the other.
Strausser expressed that she has recently gotten into politics and that this may not be as big of a deal to some as it is to others.
When asked about how she feels about the law and the history of it in the state of New Hampshire, Strausser said, “I can understand why they would not allow for your ballot to be shared for confidentiality reasons, but I don’t think it should really matter if you just wanted to keep it for yourself.”
According to Slate.com, on Oct. 31, the U.S Court of Appeals for the sixth Circuit allowed the state of Michigan’s ballot selfie ban to take effect Friday, Nov. 4.
Kyle Kemp can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org