Selfies in the voting booth could be coming to a polling place near you if a Missouri state lawmaker gets his way. State Representative Charlie Davis recently announced that he would like to overturn an outdated 1977 state measure prohibiting cameras at the ballot box.
Davis believes the 40-year old law should be overturned as it is outdated and violates the 1st Amendment:
“What is the difference between taking my opinion and putting it on Facebook, and saying ‘I’m am voting for A,B,C or D’, and taking a picture of yourself with a ballot that shows that you voted for A,B,C, and D. I honestly believe that it is an archaic law. I believe that it is outdated.”
Davis’ view that the selfie ban curbs free speech is not unheard of, it is backed by the federal courts. In September, the First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston rebuked an unconstitutional New Hampshire law banning “voters from sharing photos of their marked ballots on social media.”
According to The Wall Street Journal:
The First Circuit, affirming the decision of a federal judge in New Hampshire, held that the law would suppress a broad swath of speech protected by the core of the First Amendment.
“New Hampshire may not impose such a broad restriction on speech by banning ballot selfies in order to combat an unsubstantiated and hypothetical danger,” Judge Lynch wrote. “We repeat the old adage: ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’”
In the rapidly developing age of new media, it is necessary for state legislatures across the country to bring up to date antiquated, unconstitutional laws to ensure that all Americans can practice free speech as the Founding Fathers intended.