Ballot-Selfie Ban Stands In Way of Free Speech

Riley pens op-ed in The Detroit News

Michigan voters may have turned out in record numbers to last week’s election, but those who followed the law left their cell phones home, or at least in their pocket or purse.

That’s because ballot pictures, or selfies, that have become popular among social media users are currently prohibited in Michigan and 16 other states. In a recent op-ed for The Detroit News, Mackinac Center Policy Analyst Kahryn Riley wrote about the ballot-selfie ban and argued they should be allowed as a matter of free speech.

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Election laws and the secret ballot are supposed to serve voters, not the other way around. The state chose to create a legal emergency rather than communicate a simple rule change to election workers, suggesting that it is more concerned with keeping the status quo than with supporting new ways to exercise the right of free speech.

Riley argued that people who wish to share their vote with others through a ballot-box picture should have the option to do so, just as those who wish to keep their vote private should be given privacy.

Read the full op-ed in The Detroit News here.

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