The other day when I went to check the latest on my Snapchat, up popped a message. I thought it was from a friend, but no. It was a video from the Team Snapchat ghost reminding me to vote. Instagram’s in get-out-the-vote mode, too, with an initiative designed to make voting as simple as possible by providing reminders via the Feed and Stories. Even MTV recently announced its own campaign, +1thevote, to remind young people to head out to the polls and to bring their friends with them.
So I'm thinking, if all my feeds are reminding me how important it is to head to the polls—maybe it’s a sign that I should actually use social media to share my voting experience with the world (or my universe of friends, at least).
And what better way than to take a selfie with my ballot in the voting booth?
We use social media to share everything that’s important to us—in my case, selfies of me hanging out with my friends, posting my latest makeup looks, linking to the stories I write. So why wouldn’t I use my social media to share something as important as voting for the first time? What better way to let everyone know I voted, and to get my friends to do the same?
Well, there’s one reason not to do that—in some places, it’s against the law! No, selfies aren’t illegal, but depending on your state, they could be if taken in a voting booth. In states like Alabama and Florida, photographs of marked ballots are illegal because they violate the right to cast a ballot “in secrecy and in private.” You could even be hit with a felony charge AND a prison sentence of one-to-three years if you take that selfie in Illinois.
Being from California, I’m lucky enough to live in a state where no one’s going to arrest me for posting a proud ballot selfie to celebrate my first vote. But for those of you in the states where you can’t do the same—you can still find creative ways to share your first visit to the voting booth.
Sure, one way to let your friends know about your good deed is to wear your “I Voted!” sticker. But that’s pretty boring—we can do better than that! Why not make voting a friends’ trip? Gather up all your friends, and ask them to meet you at the polling place. Get your vote in, put on your sticker, and huddle up for a group selfie. Slap on one of those special Snapchat filters, and voila, civic duty done! Get your friends to do the same, and let’s make sure our voices are heard—and selfies seen.