Local lawmaker seeks to make ‘ballot selfies’ legal

Ballot selfie

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Celebrities like Justin Timberlake and Eric Trump received some criticism for putting photos of their ballots on the internet.

There are different laws regarding “ballot selfies,” depending on the particular state’s rules. In some places, like Ohio and Pennsylvania, it’s illegal to post a photo showing how you voted online.

One local lawmaker says he sees nothing wrong with the practice.

“I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with telling people how you voted. If you walk out of the polling station, you tell people how you voted. You should be able to say and show you supported a particular candidate,” said State Rep. John Boccieri, D-Poland.

Boccieri said his opponent, Don Manning, posted a similar photo on Facebook, despite the fact that it’s a fifth-degree felony.

“I saw his post on Facebook with him marking his own ballot, which is a violation of Ohio Revised Code, Section 3599 — something I think needs to be reformed,” he said.

Currently, voters are allowed to take a photo of themselves voting, but a Pennsylvania law prohibits someone from letting it be known how they plan to vote. Ohio has a longstanding prohibition against voters letting their ballot be seen with the “apparent intention” of letting it be known how they are about to vote.

So, Boccieri co-sponsored legislation which was introduced by a Republican in the General Assembly. It allows for a talking a selfie while you’re actually casting your ballot.

“I just think, in the 21st Century here, with the millennials and the access we have to the phones, that this needs to be reformed,” he said.