Illinois made it illegal to influence someone else at the voting booth. When you get to election day, you must stop trying to persuade voters once they are within 100 feet from the polling place. You can’t show your ballot to someone else as a way to sway their vote.
But some folks, such as William Rogers, are proud of doing their civic duty and want to show that they voted. Thus the ballot selfie, posted to social media.
Madison County Associate Judge Clarence Harrison just ruled that Rogers had a First Amendment right to take his picture with his ballot. He ruled as unconstitutional the state law making it a felony for “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.”
We imagine the law was trying to stop people within the voting booth from trying to influence the person in a neighboring voting booth. The likelihood that Rogers’ selfie was seen by another person actively voting would be remote.
The real crime would be if a rude person made others wait for a voting booth as they troll social media and stumble upon Rogers selfie. Good luck getting the smartphone image to zoom and be clear enough to tell how he voted.
Now that Harrison has ruled, we hope state lawmakers take notice and update the law to allow ballot selfies while still guarding against voter intimidation. Rogers’ selfie seems little different than the cliché images of presidential candidates on Election Day depositing their ballots, and we sure know how they voted.