State Board reminds voters not to photograph their ballots

Published 9:39 am Thursday, October 8, 2020

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From N.C. State Board of Elections 

RALEIGH – The State Board of Elections is reminding voters that North Carolina law prohibits taking photographs of or videotaping voted ballots. Please refer to N.C.G.S. § 163-166.3 for more information.

“Voters should not take a picture of their completed ballot, whether they vote in person or by mail,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “We respect voters showing their pride in casting a ballot but ask that they do so in another manner.”

The State Board has received multiple complaints of photographed absentee ballots and has been alerted to additional violations on social media in recent weeks. If a voter has taken a picture of their ballot and shared the photo online, the voter should delete the photograph.

When voting in person, voters may have phones or electronic devices with them as long as those devices are not used to photograph or videotape a ballot or communicate with anyone via voice, text, email or any other method.

Photographing a marked ballot is illegal in part because such photographs could be used as proof of a vote for a candidate in a vote-buying scheme. Electronic communication while voting is prohibited because of limits on voter assistance and to prevent disruptions in the voting enclosure.

Voters may bring voting guides, notes and other materials into the voting booth. They also may use electronic devices to access a slate card or candidate information, provided they don’t use the devices to communicate with anyone.