Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Racial Justice | Tracking COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Taking A ‘Ballot Selfie’ At The Voting Booth Is Now Legal In California

A

Credit: Twitter user @kellylynndavis

Above: A "ballot selfie" posted on Twitter by Kelly Davis, May 16, 2018.

Voters are now free to take a photo of their ballot from the voting booth, due to a change in state law.

In past elections, some voters have wanted to take "ballot selfies"— pictures of their ballots to post on social media. But that social sharing had been illegal in California to prevent vote buying and voter coercion.

But after the 2016 California primary, the California legislature voted to change the law. That change went into effect Jan. 1, 2017.

RELATED: Ballot Selfies Are Illegal, But Maybe Not For Long

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla recently sent a memo to all county clerks and registrars reminding them of the law change.

"A voter may now take a photograph of their ballot (a 'ballot selfie') and share it on social media," the memo said. "While 'ballot selfies' are now allowed under California law, elections officials and poll workers will still need to exercise their discretion as to whether 'ballot selfies' cause disruptions requiring a response."

San Diego County Registrar of Voters Michael Vu said it's still against the law to take photos or videos of other people voting, so if you are going to take that selfie, be respectful.

"The polling place is a sanctuary for other voters," he said. "And so there's all due courtesy for the person who may be taking a picture of themselves and their ballot inside the polls, to do that very quietly and not disrupt."

The law was originally proposed to "encourage voter pride, political speech, and civic engagement through social media," said state Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-Marin County), who authored the legislation.

In past elections, some voters have wanted to take "ballot selfies"— pictures of their ballots to post on social media. But that social sharing had been illegal in California to prevent vote buying and voter coercion.

Election 2020 news coverage

FEATURED PODCAST

San Diego News Matters podcast branding

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.

  • Don’t have time to keep up on the latest news? We’ve got you covered with a mid-week check-in every Wednesday afternoon.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Photo of Claire Trageser

Claire Trageser
Investigative Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksAs a member of the KPBS investigative team, my job is to hold the powerful in San Diego County accountable. I've done in-depth investigations on political campaigns, police officer misconduct and neighborhood quality of life issues.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.