Update: Appeals Court Votes No on Ballot Box Selfies
As MLive reports, late Friday afternoon, a Federal Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to reverse Monday's decision by a Federal court to allow selfies in Michigan's voting booths.
The majority opinion on the ruling, written by Jeffrey Sutton, said Joel Crookston of Portage raised a very good question regarding rights to vote vs. right of free expression, but there just isn't enough time to prepare and hear all the arguments before the November 8th election.
Secretary of State Ruth Johnson also issued a statement agreeing the the Appeals court ruling, saying there just wasn't enough time to re-train all the state's election workers for any possible changes.
"Voters can continue to vote with confidence and without the potential for outside influence. The timing is good because it takes into account the 1,603 local clerks who would have had to establish and train over 30,000 elections workers on what would have been new rules."
While government officials are happy about today's ruling, a quick peek show shows others are not. On Facebook, Katrina Jameson said:
Taking a selfie while voting is my right. I can vote for whomever I want and I can tell or not tell anyone I want.. Because we're a free country. And I can sit in that booth as long as I want going over my choices and even taking a selfie if I so choose. Acting like this will increase wait times is just silly, its just another reason for an older or more conservative part of the country to belittle the younger or less conservative group of voters. I will take a voting selfie. I will post it. And there really isn't much that anyone can do or say to stop me. I'm voting, and I'm proud of it despite the horrible candidate and flawed electoral process. I'm voting damn it. And if you don't like my selfie you can choke on a bag of.. Gummie bears.
The penalty for taking a selfie in a voting booth is the loss of that vote.
Here is the the first two paragraphs of today's ruling by the 6th District Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.
SUTTON, Circuit Judge. One hundred and twenty-five years ago, Michigan enacted alaw designed to protect the secret ballot by forbidding voters from exposing their marked ballots to others. Nine years ago, Apple introduced a cell phone capable of taking photographs and uploading them to the Internet. Thirty-two days ago, Joel Crookston sought a preliminary injunction to prevent the State from enforcing the Michigan law in the upcoming election so thathe could take a “ballot selfie” with his cell phoneand post it on social media. Four days ago, the district court granted his motion, which state officials immediately asked us to stay.Timing is everything. Crookston’s motion and complaint raise interesting First Amendment issues, and he will have an opportunity to litigate them in full—after this election.With just ten days before the November 2016 election, however, we will not accept his invitation to suddenly alter Michigan’s venerable voting protocols, especially when he could have filed this lawsuit long ago. For these reasons and those below, we grant the Secretary of State’s motion to stay the district court’s preliminary injunction.