Be Careful Where You Snap: Voting Selfies At Polls Are Illegal In Illinois, Wisconsin

Nov 2, 2016

Taking a selfie at a polling place could be illegal in several states – including Illinois and Wisconsin.

A voting sign outside of the DeKalb County Administration Building in Sycamore, Ill.
Credit Katie Finlon / WNIJ

That reminder comes after pop star Justin Timberlake took a selfie at a voting booth in Tennessee.

DeKalb County Clerk Doug Johnson says about 8,000 early votes have been tallied in DeKalb County so far. He says he wants to encourage voter enthusiasm in this election and not scare people, but he says voters must be careful of where they take their post-vote selfies.

Illinois law says anyone who knowingly photographs a ballot or someone voting, in a way where it can be seen by others, could get one to three years in prison.

“It’d be best to do it outside the polling place,” Johnson said. “We have a sign there that says ‘polling place,’ we have flags at our early voting sites that say ‘vote here’ – there’s many different opportunities to take your photo and express your thrill at voting.”

Johnson says there haven’t been any problems with photos in the polling place yet, and he says the county will report questionable photos to state officials if they arise.

“It would have to be a very blatant misuse of the statute,” Johnson said. “Taking a picture -- you know, somebody that wants to make a big deal about it and takes a big picture of the ballot and posts it on Facebook or something…yeah, we would probably follow through at that point.”

It’s also illegal to take photos of ballots and in polling places in Wisconsin.