CLEVELAND– – In an day and age where people take selfies just about anywhere, this Election Day there is one place voters cannot: in the ballot box with their ballot.
Mike West, the manager of community outreach at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, said ballot selfies are a violation of Ohio election law.
“Since social media has become so popular, people have started taking pictures of their ballot,” West said.
Despite the law, West said voters still take a selfie while voting. Under Ohio law, punishment could result in a fine or even jail time.
“In theory, you could sell your vote or prove to somebody how you voted if you were pressured in some way by a boss or a spouse or somebody,” said West about taking a ballot selfie.
West said voting is intended to be confidential but he does understand how some voters are proud of their vote and excited to share on social media.
“We really like to accommodate people that want to have pictures of them in the polling place,” West said. “Normally during early voting, we set up an area that’s designed for that. We have a little frames that people can hold up signs why I voted things like that.”
As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, voter turnout was below 20 percent in Cuayhoga County. One of the busier polling locations is the Fairfax Recreation Center in Cleveland, where a stream of voters cast their ballot, selfie free.
“I would wait until I get outside and take the picture because you never know after you voted you got the paper with you, you never know what’s on it and you could be exposed,” said voter Viola Pierce.
Another voter said there’s little harm in posing for a ballot selfie.
“I’ve never seen it happen personally, but I don’t see anything wrong with it,” said voter Grady Burrows. “I think capturing your image, as long as it’s your image and not infringing on other people’s rights who may not be around you, is totally acceptable.”