‘Ballot selfie law’ being challenged by ACLU of Indiana

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Update: U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker barred Indiana from enforcing a new law that would prohibit voters from taking ballot selfies.

INDIANAPOLIS (August 27, 2015) - Don't take a picture next time you go to the ballot box, or you could be in trouble with the law!

This past year, the General Assembly passed a new law, Senate Enrolled Act 466, dealing with a number of election issues including the dissemination of 'ballot box selfies' and other photos taken in the ballot box.

“(They) passed a statute that makes it illegal for someone to take a picture of their ballot while in the voting both or separately makes it illegal to reproduce that, to post that,” said attorney Gavin Rose with the ACLU of Indiana, which is now challenging the new law in court.

State Sen. Pete Miller, R-Brownsburg, authored the legislation. He says it actually gives people more freedom than they had before.

“Prior to this law taking effect, you weren’t allowed to use a cell phone at all,” said Sen. Miller. “So we said alright (it’s) probably OK if you want to call your spouse and say hey I’m running late.”

But taking pictures? That's illegal.

“This is core political expression that Indiana has outlawed,” said Rose. “We think that it is a dramatic infringement on the freedom of speech.”

“We’re not trying to infringe on anyone’s first amendment rights,” said Sen. Miller. “If someone wants to tweet or Facebook that I voted for so-and-so and scream it from the hills, by all means we want people to do that. It’s just taking a picture.”

“There’s some concern among legislators that people will purchase votes and demand physical proof you voted the way they told you to,” said Rose. “(But) I don’t know that’s ever occurred in Indiana… this is a dramatic overreaction to a problem that might not even be a problem at all.”

“Even though it’s not a pressing issue, it has been in the past,” said Sen. Miller. “There’s a reason we have secret ballots.”

Violating the law could lead to a potential felony.

A court in New Hampshire recently overturned a similar law in that state.

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