Residents of the “Live Free or Die” state are now free to take “ballot selfies.”
If, like me, you had been unaware that ballot selfies are thing or that they had been explicitly banned in New Hampshire, here’s the gist from Boston.com.
A federal judge Monday repealed (New Hampshire’s) law banning photos of filled-out election ballots, ruling that it violated the First Amendment. U.S. District Court Judge Paul Barbadoro said the law was unconstitutional, because it did not meet the standards necessary for the state to restrict political free speech.
“Here, the law at issue is a content-based restriction on speech that deprives voters of one of their most powerful means of letting the world know how they voted,” Barbadoro wrote in his decision.
The state implemented the law September 1, 2014 upon concerns that a voter could be bribed or coerced into posting proof that they voted a certain way.
Again with the virtually non-existent threat of voter fraud. Here we’re asked to imagine hordes of registered voters willing to commit a crime by accepting a bribe for their vote and – here’s the most ludicrous part – producing photographic evidence of their guilt.
There is no evidence that such a ballot-selfie-enabled crime has ever occurred -- anywhere.
There are other states – my own Massachusetts among them – that have pre-Internet laws on the books that could be interpreted to ban ballot selfies.
I’m assuming this ruling by Judge Barbadoro will put an end to such ambiguities, as well.