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no! ballot selfies

 
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So ballot selfies sound like they are going to become a thing in the United States. This scares me. When done voluntarily, it isn't a problem of course. But it being legal to share your filled in ballot, I worry that people will buy votes or shady employers will require their employees to vote a certain way and turn in the ballot as proof.

Anyone want to tell me I'm being paranoid?
 
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Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you. Ballot selfies ought to be prohibited; just as it is illegal to take photographs inside a court when sitting in this country, it ought to be illegal to take photographs inside voting stations. Before we floated you lot off into the middle of the Atlantic, the hustings were notorious for the sort of corruption you describe, which would doubtless recur if such photography were permissible.
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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The NYTimes had op eds on both sides of this issue.

While I don't like this as a reason, one perosn wrote that taking a photo allows vote swapping. (Where you vote for a third party candidate in a safe state so as not to mess up a swing state.)
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Please explain vote swapping more simply. It looks like a fiddle to me, though.

And sorry for delay in replying.
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:Please explain vote swapping more simply. It looks like a fiddle to me, though.


To avoid using candidate names (and making this sound more controversial), let's suppose the two major parties are running candidate A and candidate B. A third party is running candidate C. Sally lives in Florida and hates both candidate A and B. So she wants to cast a "protest" vote by voting for candidate C. (or writing in Mickey Mouse). However, she hates candidate B more than candidate A. So while she wants to register her displeasure with the choices by voting for Candidate C, she also doesn't want to cause Candidate A to lose the election. The problem is that Florida has a chance of deciding the election.

So Sally makes a deal with a friend in California. Sally will vote for candidate A in her state of Florida. In exchange, her friend who was planning to vote for candidate A will vote for Candidate C in California instead. This makes Sally happy because a protest vote for Candidate C was cast. However, it was a cast in a state that was going to elect a certain candidate anyway so won't influence the overall winner.  The problem is that this relies on trust. So the argument is that selfies prove that the exchange actually happened.

I don't like this argument for what it's worth. I also don't like the argument that one can already take a photo of his/her absentee ballot so why not just allow them at the ballot booth.
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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I'd also like to point out that I think the solution to the ballot swapping problem is "voting ranking/preference". If she could vote for candidates A and C, she could register her displeasure but still show vote for Candidate A.
 
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Sorry for delay in replying. Yes, it does look like a fiddle, but getting people to vote in a particular manner as a protest vote is probably neither illegal nor immoral. As long as it is simply a personal arrangement, as you say, between friends.
The vote against soundsYou are supposed to keep going until you can no longer  a good idea, but it can backfire. A lot of organisations in UK use a thing called Single Transferrable Vote. You vote for your first‑preference candidate, No 2 for the next preference, no 3 for … etc., etc. About 15 years ago there was a General Medical Council election with about 113 candidates. It was very difficult to distinguish most of the candidates, with two exceptions, who quite obviously merited votes No 114‑115. So it was impossible to vote for them, or to vote against them. Even better: one of these ☈@%!☠⚛s was elected. It shows the unsuitability of that sort of voting for any but the smallest field of candidates.
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:It shows the unsuitability of that sort of voting for any but the smallest field of candidates.


We had four candidates. Seems suitable to me!
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Yes, it usually works all right for four candidates.
 
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You're not paranoid I agree with you, voting should be secret.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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It is possible to prohibit people from asking how somebody voted, but not to prohibit somebody from saying how they voted. If I tell a friend I voted for party X and they want a photo to prove it, I shall start wondering why they don't trust me.
 
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:It is possible to prohibit people from asking how somebody voted, but not to prohibit somebody from saying how they voted. If I tell a friend I voted for party X and they want a photo to prove it, I shall start wondering why they don't trust me.



Yes you can create a law to prohibit people from asking how someone voted, but that won't necessarily stop it.  

Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:
...While I don't like this as a reason, one perosn wrote that taking a photo allows vote swapping. ...



And it's good that you don't like that as a reason, since vote swapping is arguably illegal.  As I understand it, you are NOT allowed to buy someone's vote, even by promising to use your vote in a specific way.  Yes, vote swapping is clever and may possibly lead to outcomes that I want, but that doesn't make it legal.

I think the posting/sharing of photographic proof of a vote should be illegal specifically because there is no need for it while it opens the door to a lot of illegal activity - vote swapping, voting as a requirement for employment or other benefits, etc.
 
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:I don't like this argument for what it's worth. I also don't like the argument that one can already take a photo of his/her absentee ballot so why not just allow them at the ballot booth.



I think it should be illegal to share a picture of your own absentee ballot for all the same reasons it should be illegal to take selfies in the polling place.  One practical way to handle this would be to make taking ballot picture illegal and then not expend too many resources on enforcing the law.  That way you can go ahead and post your election selfie to Facebook, but your employer wouldn't be able to require you to (illegally) provide photographic evidence of your vote.
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Ryan: I like that as a good balance. Then the law still provides some protection.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Ryan McGuire wrote:. . . make taking ballot picture illegal . . .

Not certain, but it may be illegal already in UK under the Representation of the People Acts. In which case posting your election selfie on FB shou‍ld result in a summons to court.
 
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