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Voting in the age of social media

It's tempting to Instagram your actual ballot, but here's why it may not be a good idea.

Voting ballot picture social media instagram twitter november 6 2012Enlarge
A man casts his electronic ballot at a polling station in Washington, DC on November 6, 2012. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

In this age of social media, it's tempting to spur your friends and relatives to vote by telling them you voted.

Data from the Pew Research center showed that nearly 22 percent of registered voters have let others know they voted through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

However, some are doing it by posting a picture of their ballot on social media.

That may not be a good idea, and in some states, it may not be legal.

ProPublica noted that showing your marked ballot to other people is actually illegal in many states. It wrote, "Laws against displaying your ballot are motivated by concerns about vote buying, since voters being bribed might need to be prove they voted a certain way."

The Wall Street Journal's All Things D blog noted that some states, including Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada and Texas specifically prohibit the use of "photographic and recording equipment inside polling places."

The Citizen Media Law Project's website has a chart outlining each state's laws about documenting your vote.

The consequences can be serious. In Michigan and Hawaii, voters who show their ballots to other people can have their votes thrown out, ProPublica reported. Displaying your filled out ballot can get you convicted of a misdemeanor in Colorado, and it carries a fine of not more than $1000 or not more than a year in county jail.

All Things D noted that a voter in North Carolina had his smartphone confiscated when he took it out to check his list of chosen candidates. In Wisconsin, posting a completed ballot on Facebook or Twitter constitutes election fraud, a Class I felony.

So tweet and instagram with caution.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/121106/voting-the-age-social-media