Missouri stands in gray area with voting booth selfies

2 years 2 weeks 5 days ago Wednesday, October 26 2016 Oct 26, 2016 Wednesday, October 26, 2016 3:50:00 PM CDT October 26, 2016 in News
By: Kiara Ealy, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA- With absentee voting already underway, it might be a good idea to think about whether or not your voting booth selfie is legal.

In Missouri, those who take a photo of their ballot with an intent to show how they voted are committing a class four voting  offense, according to Missouri Revised Statues section 115.637.1 (14). Those found guilty of committing the offense could face no more than one year of imprisonment, a fine of not more than $2,000 or both.

Howard County Clerk Kathyrne Harper said she's not going check voters for cell phones usage on election day.

"We're not going to be policing our booths for cell phones on election day," Harper said. "We're going to have a busy day with a big turnout, and I hope that people aren't taking selfies inside the both, probably mostly because it'll slow down the process, it's a long ballot."

The idea of talking a photo of yourself in a voting booth is a fairly new one, so some states allow phones in polling places, others made it illegal to bring in a phone altogether, and states like Missouri remain in the gray with allowing photos in voter booth, but not of the filled out ballot.

Cole County Clerk Steve Korsmeyer said some people may use their phones to help them weigh their options when voting.

"I think some people use them as a reference," Korsmeyer said. "You know, they might have how they're going to vote and you know they may use it for that."

He thinks voting both selfies are fine, but hopes people aren't disruptive in the process.

"There is also a law that they can't interfere with another voter or the voting process or anything." Korsmeyer said. "So as long as they're not messing with the voter sitting next to them or taking photos of other voters- that's an election offense too, class four."

For now, cell phone usage is allowed at voting booths in Missouri, as long as users aren't disrupting other voters. However, voters should be careful not to show how they voted in their selfies. 

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