Georgians, please don’t Instagram your ballot. It’s illegal.
The Peach State has a law that expressly prohibits recording devices in polling places or publicly displaying your ballot, according to the Citizen Media Law Project. In layman’s terms, you can’t take any pictures or video in a polling place. You especially can’t take a picture of your ballot. And you could be pretty screwed if you post said picture online anywhere and your profile is public. Because, yeah, doing illegal things publicly is a bad idea. (FYI, even if you don’t crosspost your pic to your Twitter or Facebook, all Instagram profiles now have web addresses associated with them, and if your Instagram is already public, then so is that.)
Now, don’t get all up in arms about how these laws are an invasion of civil liberties, stripping you of your right to show off your civic pride in a sepia tone. Most of them date back many years and were implemented to counteract voter fraud, as people used to pay members of the electorate to vote for certain candidates and then require a photograph of their ballot as proof.
While Georgia doesn’t typically prosecute these cases, they could, according to the Secretary of State’s press office. If they did, your vote wouldn’t be nullified, but it could involve a penalty fee or another type of reprimand.
In general, though, let’s err away from the irony of doing something illegal while simultaneously doing something civic. Stay classy, Atlanta.
And don’t forget to vote! (The polls remain open until 7 p.m., and you can use this handy government site to locate your polling place if you aren’t quite sure where it is.)
Photograph by Farther Along/Flickr