Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Voting Booth Selfies

Taking pictures in the voting booth is actually illegal in 18 states.

1. When Justin Timberlake flew to his home city of Memphis last month to vote early, he snapped a selfie in the booth and posted it on Instagram — and landed himself in some hot water in the process.

Justin Timberlake / Instagram

What he apparently didn’t know is that taking photos in a polling place is actually prohibited in Tennessee, and can be penalized with a $50 fine or 30 days in jail.

Fortunately, the singer wasn’t slapped with any charges — the district attorney told CNN that “no one in our office is currently investigating this matter.”

On The Tonight Show, the singer urged fans, “Get out and vote, but … don’t take a picture of yourself.”

Indeed, Tennessee isn’t the only state where a voting booth selfie could get you in trouble.

2. The Associated Press asked election officials in every state where taking pictures in the booth is and isn’t allowed.

BuzzFeed News / Google

But the answer actually isn’t so black-and-white.

Taking voting pics is legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia, and illegal in 18, but the law is a bit unclear with the 13 remaining states.

3. Really, though, many of these “unclear” states lean more toward “maaaaybe just don’t do it.”

NBC

For example, Tennessee forbids taking photos and videos within polling places, but also has no explicit law on whether you can photograph your mail-in ballots.

And in Delaware, taking your phone into the booth is illegal, but Elaine Manlove, the state’s election commissioner, told the AP, “I don’t know that we can control what happens behind the curtain.”

4. Unless you’re certain your selfie is legal, consider holding off until you’re outside the polling place.

After all, that’s what those cute little “I voted” stickers are for.

5. Here is a list of where it is legal, illegal, and unclear whether it’s legal or not to take a ballot selfie:

Legal:
Connecticut
District of Columbia
Hawaii
Idaho
Indiana
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Minnesota
Montana
Nebraska
New Hampshire
North Dakota
Oregon
Rhode Island
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
Wyoming

Illegal:
Alabama
Alaska
Colorado
Florida
Georgia
Illinois
Kansas
Massachusetts
Michigan
Mississippi
Nevada
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
South Carolina
South Dakota
Wisconsin

Unclear:
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Delaware
Iowa
Maryland
Missouri
Ohio
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
Tennessee
Texas
West Virginia

CORRECTION

A previous version of the map incorrectly identified the legality of ballot selfies for Michigan and Massachusetts. The map has since been updated with the correct information.

The list of states previously left out South Carolina.

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Julia Reinstein is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Julia Reinstein at julia.reinstein@buzzfeed.com.
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