Charlie Danbury of Trenchmouth sings at the Bad Brains/Trenchmouth “Rock Against Racism” show at the Valley Green Housing Complex on September 9, 1979. This pic is part of a series of photos of the early punk rock scene in Washington, DC shot by Pulitzer prizewinner Lucian Perkins.
If you want to take photographs or shoot video inside your polling place, you must be cautious to avoid violating the law. Election laws are serious business – you could be removed from the polling place and even subject to criminal penalties. Some states like Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, and Texas expressly prohibit the use of photographic and recording equipment inside polling places. In addition, a majority of states have laws prohibiting the disclosure of your own marked ballot, although the details of these laws vary significantly.
We’ll be honest: This is an awesome/scary new-media problem that we, as journalists, didn’t anticipate before today and haven’t tracked in all 50 states.
CMLP has a handy chart that documents the laws in each state. Check these AND double-check with your state elections board to find out specific laws in your state, but err on the side of caution — a misstep could get your ballot challenged, and could lead to civil and criminal penalties.
Obviously, this is an interesting conflict of rights: Our right to free speech versus the long-held American ideal of a truly secret balloting system. As this story develops, we’ll have more.