October 13, 2015

ACLU Challenges Indiana's Ban On Ballot Selfies

INDIANAPOLIS -- 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. 

Each side presented its argument in a federal court hearing Tuesday.

The state offered several potential problems the so-called “ballot selfie” law seeks to prevent, including the buying and selling votes and 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,” Falk said.

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

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