Cameras at Polling Locations

 A voter may take a photograph of their ballot (a “ballot selfie”) and share it on social media.  While “ballot selfies” are allowed under California law, elections officials and poll workers will still need to exercise their discretion as to whether “ballot selfies” cause disruptions requiring a response.  

Notwithstanding the provisions of Elections Code section 14291, the use of cameras in and outside of the polling place should remain limited, and certain uses of cameras in the polling place should continue to require the consent of the elections official.  An example of when an elections official can permit the use of cameras at the polls is if a credentialed media organization wants to photograph or film a candidate voting at a polling place.  This is something permitted provided activity does not interfere with voting, is not intimidating to any voters or election workers, and that the privacy of voters is not compromised. With regard to exit polling, the Secretary of State’s office recommends advising news organizations and other pollsters to refrain from exit polling activities within at least 25 feet of a polling location.   

Overall, voters must be mindful that their ability to take “ballot selfies” is not without limits. The limits on the use of “ballot selfies” include, for example

  • Prohibitions regarding the unauthorized sharing of and use of information relating to how a person voted.  (see e.g. Elections Code sections 1852018524)  
  • Prohibitions on soliciting or receiving consideration for voting, or refraining from voting, for any particular candidate or measure. 
  • Prohibitions on interference with the conduct of elections and with the duties of election workers. 
  • Prohibitions regarding the intimidation of voters. 
  • Prohibitions on compromising the privacy of other voters casting a ballot. 

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