Ballot ‘selfies’ draw support, dismissal from LFDA members - 493 responses

Nov 08, 2014

In light of some Granite Staters who elected to post ballot ‘selfies’ during this past election in protest of a law that prohibits them from doing so, the Live Free or Die Alliance (LFDA) solicited the opinions of  its Facebook members. In asking the question, “Should NH citizens be allowed to take and post a selfie of their marked ballots via social media,” the LFDA, the majority of the respondents felt this was an issue of free speech.

While 72 percent of respondents who directly answered the question noted citizens should be allowed to post ballot selfies, nearly half of all respondents (43 percent) elected to discuss the subject more broadly. Out of those who answered the question, 28 percent said individuals should not be allowed to post ballot selfies. In total, the LFDA received 494 citizen responses, including specific comments from 194 individuals supported by 279 concurrences.

In posing the question, the LFDA used the example of Hampton resident Jonathan Spear, whom many cited in their response. Representing the minority opinion, several respondents voiced the notion that a law should never be broken, while others expressed concerns that Spear’s ballot selfie could indicate his vote was bought. “Keep the law in place,” said one gentleman. “If this person’s vote was bought, he just proved to the buyers that the transaction was indeed completed. It makes sense that this is prohibited.”

Many of the majority opinion, however, took exception to such claims. “It's freedom of speech and does not suggest a crime has been committed,” remarked one respondent. “Does posting on social media who you voted for mean you were fulfilling a bribe?” Others argued that posting a ballot selfie on Facebook was no different than sticking a bumper sticker on the back of a car.

There were calls to take action against the current legislation, including one from State Representative John A. Burt, who noted, “Representative Leon Rideout and I have a bill in to repeal this anti First Amendment law.”

There were respondents, however, who expressed an understanding for both sides of the issue. One gentleman commented, “I understand why they don't want you to, but I also understand the free speech side of it—tough call.”

Click here to see the full Facebook discussion of this question.

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