Give Now

Delays, Closings and Severe Weather - View All Alerts and Updates

Federal Court Hears Arguments Over ‘Ballot Selfie’ Law

The Indiana ACLU has filed a lawsuit at the District Court in Indianapolis claiming ballot selfies are protected political speech.

The ACLU says an Indiana law barring voters from taking pictures of their ballot in the voting booth violates the First Amendment, but the state is countering that the legislature is trying to prevent voter fraud.

A federal court heard arguments Tuesday over the law’s constitutionality.

The state offered several potential problems the so-called “ballot selfie” law seeks to prevent: taking photos of one’s ballot could help facilitate buying and selling votes. Barring pictures of a ballot could also help prevent voter intimidation and coercion.

Simply put, the state argues that ballot secrecy has been vital for more than a hundred years, and the “ballot selfie” statute is a natural offshoot of an existing law that bars people from showing their ballot to others.

But Judge Sarah Evans Barker noted the state’s position, in her words, “wobbles” on its inability to show evidence of any of those problems; the state couldn’t provide examples of vote buying within the last 25 years.

And ACLU Indiana legal director Ken Falk says even if those problems existed, the law is still too broad.

“There’s no excuse for a law that bans taking pictures of ballots that aren’t completed or taking pictures of ballots that you never intend to share or that you’re going to share for completely innocent reasons,” he says.

Judge Barker says she plans to issue a ruling before the Nov. 3 election.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From