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Indiana judge overturns ban on 'ballot selfies'

By
Ben Hooper
A ballot is cast. This voter would have the right to a selfie with their ballot, if they live in Indiana. Photo by Peeradach Rattanakoses/Shutterstock.com
A ballot is cast. This voter would have the right to a selfie with their ballot, if they live in Indiana. Photo by Peeradach Rattanakoses/Shutterstock.com

INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- An Indiana judge overturned the state's so-called "ballot selfies law," allowing the state's residents to once again take selfies with their completed ballots.

U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker ruled the law, which took effect July 1, was unconstitutional because it barred constitutionally protected speech -- specifically, taking photos of one's own completed ballot while casting a vote and distributing it "using social media or by any other means."

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The law, which carried penalties of up to 30 months in prison and a $10,000 fine, was challenged in a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union.

The lawsuit stated:

"A number of the members of the ACLU of Indiana have indicated that they wish to be able to express themselves and their political views and opinions by taking pictures of their ballots and sharing these photographs with others. They wish to do this for many reasons including, but not limited to: seeking and sharing information as to who is on the ballot, memorializing that they have voted and who they have voted for so that they can discuss this at a later time, and encouraging friends and family to vote and who to vote for."



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Barker sided with the ACLU, saying the state failed to demonstrate a need for the ban.

"The State has entirely failed to identify any such problem in Indiana relating to or evidencing vote buying, voter fraud, voter coercion, involuntary ballot disclosures, or an existing threat to the integrity of the electoral process," Barker said in her ruling.

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