Election-Day Selfies in Indiana Jeopardized

     INDIANAPOLIS (CN) – A new law that bans Indiana voters from taking pictures of their ballots at the polling site tramples the First Amendment, civil libertarians told a federal judge.
     Indiana’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit Thursday in protest of Senate Enroll Act 466, which took effect July 1.
     They say the law prevents voters from expressing their political beliefs and sharing them with others.
     Specifically the law prevents voters from taking pictures of their ballots while voting, and from sharing the image anywhere, including on social media.
     “Taking a picture of one’s ballot and sharing it with family and friends is an expression of pride and enthusiasm about voting, and is a form of political speech that must be protected,” ACLU of Indiana legal director Ken Falk said in a statement. “This law, which is a content-based regulation of speech, deprives Hoosiers of this fundamental right and is unconstitutional.”
     Among other election changes, the law lets voters use their cellphones in a polling location, so long as they are not electioneering or taking pictures of their ballots.
     The ACLU helped overturn a similar law in New Hampshire earlier this month.
     New Hampshire’s law made it unlawful to disclose digital photographs of completed ballots, prompting a lawsuit from three voters who were investigated for posting of their ballots on social media.
     U.S. District Judge Paul Barbadoro overturned the New Hampshire in a 42=page opinion because he found it restricted content-based speech.
     “Accordingly, this case does not present the type of conflict between speech rights and other governmental interests that can be used to justify a law that restricts political speech,” Barbadoro wrote on Aug. 11.
     The ACLU filed the five-page suit in Indiana on its own behalf and behalf of its 3,000 members, in hopes of preventing the law’s enforcement during the upcoming November elections.

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