With November 8th rapidly approaching, the 2016 Presidential Election is on all or our minds. We all have questions: “For whom should I vote?” “What policies will the new President enact?” “How will those policies affect my life?” “What impact will the election have on the economy?” For some election officials, the burning question was, “Are ballot selfies legal?”
On September 29, 2016, Virginia Attorney General Opinion #16-038 was issued concluding that recent amendments to the State Board of Elections regulations permitting voters to use cameras or cell phones inside the polling place do not conflict with any existing state law. Voters may take pictures inside the polling place as long as doing so does not disrupt the voting process or prevent others from voting in private. (Representatives of candidates and political parties authorized to observe the election may not take photographs or videos within the polling place.)
If you feel the need to take a “ballot selfie” to post on social media and share your voting choice with the world, you may do so without fear of violating a law. However, the popular “phone a friend” option is still not available. You may not phone a friend from the voting booth for assistance or advice in casting your ballot.
Whether or not you choose to share your vote, please VOTE. It is your right and your responsibility to do so.