Capitol Alert

Ballot selfie ban stands in California after judge rejects ACLU lawsuit

Taylor Huckaby shows off his vote for the June 7, 2016, California primary election.
Taylor Huckaby shows off his vote for the June 7, 2016, California primary election. The Associated Press

Put those cameras away, because “ballot selfies” won’t be legal in California for another two months after all.

A federal judge in San Francisco on Wednesday rejected a last-minute legal challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union of California to allow social media users to post photos of their votes this election.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit on Monday, charging that a 125-year-old state election code prohibiting voters from revealing the contents of their marked ballot posed an unconstitutional violation of free speech. The Legislature passed a law this session to overturn that ban, but it will not take effect until 2017.

U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup threw out the case Wednesday for its lateness and serious potential to cause confusion at polling places next week.

Following the verdict, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla issued a clarification that “Californians can still use their smartphones at the polls. Many voters use their smartphones to access their sample ballot or notes they have made about candidates and ballot measures.”

He suggested that Californians take a picture with their “I Voted” stickers instead.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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