Politicians in Colorado have recently overturned a 126 year old law that makes it illegal for people to publicly share photos of their ballots from the voting booth. These types of “selfie laws”, as they have become known, came to us with the development of smartphones and newer technology, became a hot topic during the 2016 as many millennials challenged the law taking photos of their ballot inside the voting booth.
“The idea of voting is an awesome opportunity and we should give people a chance to celebrate that anyway they darn well please,” Colorado state Senator, Owen Hill said of his support of the bill.
Hill is a Republican and a main sponsor of the bi-partisan which stalled last in last year’s legislative session but the co-sponsors were able to get enough votes to pass the bill through the Senate and the House of Representatives.
“You shouldn’t go to jail and you shouldn’t be fined for precipitating in a political democracy,” Hill continued after the bill passed the Senate. The bill passed the Senate 31-4, with a group of bi-partisan politicians opposing the legalization of the ballot selfie.
Three Republican Senators and one Democratic Senator voted against the bill. The three Republicans who voted no were, State Senators, Kevin Priola, Vicki Marble, and Jack Tate. The lone Democrat to oppose the bill was Daniel Kagan.
Unlike many issues in this country at our present time, this bill was both supported by Republicans and Democrats, and opposed by Republicans and Democrats. The bill was in response to a current outpouring of challenges to the law nationally, as the voting age has become younger and technology is started to become more influential within our daily and political lives.
The concern for the law came out of the original law which was passed and signed in 1891. The original law prevented people from disseminating their ballots, and was classified as a misdemeanor which carried a penalty of up to a year in prison.
22 states and the District of Columbia allow ballot selfies, and 19 states have laws specifically banning the ballot selfie. 9 states have laws that are categorized as “unclear,” as to where the state stands on the ballot selfie.
“Our concern is the downstream policy impacts of allowing this practice and what it would lead to, intimidation, fraud, vote selling, those types of things, Deputy Secretary of State, Suzanne Stairet said of her concern about the bill.
House Bill 1014 was in response to a growing trend during the 2016 general and primary election where people known as “never trumpers,” shared the ballots on social media in key states in an effort to try and stop President Trump from winning the Republican and Presidential election.
Governor Hickenlooper signed the bill into law on March 16 2017.
In conclusion, Colorado did the right thing by decriminalizing the celebration of people wanting to share that they participated democracy, which is one of the most patriotic civic duties a citizen can participate in.
Links to recently published clips:
- Coloradoan Link: http://www.coloradoan.com/story/news/2017/03/02/ballot-selfie-bill-approved-colorado/98635956/
- The Denver Channel: http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/politics/hickenlooper-signs-colorado-bill-allowing-ballot-selfies
- Denver Post: http://www.denverpost.com/2017/01/24/colorado-repeal-ban-ballot-selfies/
- NBC news: http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/2016-election-day/which-states-allow-voters-snap-ballot-box-selfies-n673376