Hot Sheet

Your vote is a civil right; your selfie, maybe not

Author: Dan Njegomir - November 3, 2016 - Updated: June 6, 2017

As reported today by Colorado Public Radio’s Megan Verlee, a federal judge could rule by Friday whether we have to resist the impulse to snap photos of our marked-up ballots, perhaps with ourselves in the picture, prior to returning them to our county clerks.

What’s that, you say? You’ve never felt that urge? Well, lucky you! Technically speaking, it turns out to be illegal in Colorado.

As Verlee explains:

Colorado has a 125-year-old law requiring people to keep their ballots secret. The “ballot selfie” issue jumped into the headlines after the Denver District Attorney’s office sent out a press release reminding people that posting ballot photos could lead to prosecution.

The law was passed in 1895 to help prevent people from being coerced into voting a certain way or from selling their votes. Two lawsuits seek to get the law declared unconstitutional. One was brought by Republican state Sen. Owen Hill. The other was filed by Libertarian Party officer Caryn Ann Harlos. Both cases are being heard together.

So, does this 19th-century law or the Denver D.A.’s latter-day reading of it—or, for that matter, the to-do some are now raising over it—have any merit? You decide.

As always, we’ll keep you posted.

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is a blogger and opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.

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