November 6, 2012
First Amendment Problems With Prohibitions of Election Documentation?
Smartphone cameras plus social media distribution pose many possibilities of First Amendment challenges to laws prohibiting recording, such as the recording of law enforcement officers as we've previously discussed.
On Election day, the existence of a wide array of laws prohibiting recording inside polling places - - - collected at Citizen Law Media Project - - - might be violated by a casual posting of a ballot to a facebook page. Although many of the statutes seem to be aimed at prohibiting voter intimidation or at regulation of the media, and thus their extension to the recording of one's own vote would seem a matter of statutory construction, any construction would occur in light of the First Amendment, as would the intimidation and media regulations. Of special constitutional concern are the laws and regulations that delegate (seemingly total?) discretion to local polling officials.
The First Amendment interests involved would not only be the personal/artistic ones of an interesting facebook page or personal scrapbook, but also ones more central to democracy, such as identifying problems with voting protocols such as the machinery recording an incorrect vote (video below).
[image of ballot via]
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