Social media sharing of yourself rocking the vote may be a modern day expression of one of your most essential democratic rights, but tweeting, instagramming, or posting on Facebook a photo of your voting selection might be a felony in Illinois and crime other states around the U.S. (see links below).
In Illinois, the law certainly pre-dates social media, and the internet for that matter, coming from the 78th Illinois General Assembly in the 1973-74 term:
Sec. 29-9. Unlawful observation of voting. Except as permitted by this Code, any person who knowingly marks his ballot or casts his vote on a voting machine or voting device so that it can be observed by another person, and any person who knowingly observes another person lawfully marking a ballot or lawfully casting his vote on a voting machine or voting device, shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony [punishable by one to three years in prison]. 10 ILCS 5/29-9.
This law creates a prohibition on voting in a manner that can be observed by others or your observation of others, hence those “mini-shower stall” type booths with flimsy drapes you often find. But a modern day reading of the law could be interpreted to include posting on social media of photos showing all or a portion of a completed ballot.
The general intent of such a law is to protect the privacy of the voter while hindering voter intimidation or even buying of specific votes. While it’s not expected that a State’s Attorney is going to pay much attention to bringing a criminal complaint or information against you for showing your actual vote to the world loud and proud, do NOT try to take the photo of another person’s vote (this should go without saying).
Nevertheless, keep your tweet/instagram/vine/snapchat/facebook/etc. post maybe to just a selfie of you and your “I VOTED” sticker and you should be safe.
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