The Selfie Threat To Democracy

From Reuters, by Richard L. Hansen  Why the selfie is a threat to democracy  <read>

What could be more patriotic in our narcissistic social-media age than posting a picture of yourself on Facebook with your marked ballot for president? Show off your support for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) or former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.  Last week, a federal court in New Hampshire struck down that state’s ban on ballot selfies as a violation of the First Amendment right of free-speech expression.

That might seem like a victory for the American Way. But the judge made a huge mistake because without the ballot-selfie ban, we could see the reemergence of the buying and selling of votes — and even potential coercion from employers, union bosses and others…

In his 42-page opinion, Federal District Court Judge Paul Barbadoro offered an erudite and thoughtful discussion of the history of vote buying in the United States. You would think his analysis would have led him to uphold the ban. But it didn’t. Instead, his analysis fell apart in its legal reasoning…

Barbadoro also said the law was not narrowly tailored, given that nothing would stop someone from posting on Facebook, or elsewhere, information about how he or she voted. What this analysis misses is that a picture of a valid voted ballot, unlike a simple expression of how someone voted, is unique in being able to prove how someone voted…

The social-media age gives people plenty of tools for political self-expression. New Hampshire’s law is a modest way to make sure that this patriotic expression does not give anyone the tools to corrupt the voting process.

We agree 1000%.  See our earlier post: Common Sense: The good, bad, and ugly secret ballot

***** Update 8/25/2015
More from the New York Times <read>


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