New York voters have no 1st Amendment right to snap ballot booth selfies

A New York federal judge is upholding New York’s ban on photographing marked ballots in polling places, saying the First Amendment is trumped by the law’s stated goal to cut down on election fraud via vote buying and extortion.

US District Judge P. Kevin Castel said the statute deprives a perpetrator of election fraud the modern-day means to verify that a target voted a certain way. That verification method is a selfie of a voter holding a marked ballot at a polling place, which would then be posted to social media, he said.

“The State’s interest in the integrity of its elections is paramount. The law is also narrowly tailored…,” Castel wrote (PDF) Thursday. “Alternatively, the Court finds that the statute is a reasonable, viewpoint neutral restriction of speech within a non-public forum.”

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