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Don’t Put Your Ballot On Facebook

Submitted by on May 28, 2012 – 9:15 amOne Comment

Add to the growing list of things you shouldn’t- or can’t- do through social media: showing your election day ballot. Officials from both parties in Wisconsin learned this the hard way when they posted photos of their completed ballots to Facebook.

The law bars voters from showing their completed ballots to anyone. The intent is to prevent people from selling their votes and then showing their ballots as proof they voted as requested,Wisconsin Government Accountability Board spokesman Reid Magney said.

But some voters — including Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate and St. Croix County Republican Party Chairman Jesse Garza — were unaware that the posts violated state law. Tate and Garza said they were immediately taking down photos of their absentee ballots.

The photos were of absentee ballots filled out ahead of the June 5 recall election targeting Gov. Scott Walker and several other Republicans.

The crime is a felony, but prosecutors are unlikely to file charges at this point without evidence of a vote-buying campaign.

The case represents another collision of older laws, unimaginable technological advances, and timeless legal rights. The framers of the law never could have imagined the ubiquity of cameras and ease of photo sharing of today. But if sharing images of one’s ballot became the norm, how could lawmakers protect the privacy of the voting booth, allowing voters to make choices away from pressures of public scrutiny?

What do you think?

[via Yahoo! News]

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