Hand ballot

Voting laws vary by state, but here are a few things for all Americans to know when exercising this important right.

1. Can I take a ballot selfie?

Taking a photo of your ballot and posting on social media is actually illegal or possibly illegal in about half the states in the country. But the states which clearly ALLOW ballot selfies are: Arizona, Delaware, Indiana, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.

The bans on voter selfies are generally thought to prevent vote “buying,” since the photos could be used to prove that a ballot was cast for a certain candidate or proposition. But the courts may soon strike down the bans as a violation of the 1st amendment right to free expression.

2. What if someone tries to intimidate me at the voting booth or prevent me from registering to vote? You have the right to protection from intimidation or harassment in voting or attempting to vote or to register to vote.1This is protected by federal law: U.S. Code, Title 18, Section 245

3. State voting rules

As mentioned above, different states have different rules about who can vote and how. You can find out more about your state’s voting laws here.

However, federal law prohibits all literacy tests or any “proof of good moral character” as a way to determine eligibility for voting. Also, state governments may not place any restrictions on voting that would likely have the effect of limiting voting by racial minorities. The courts have applied this to various types of restrictions, for example, striking down certain onerous Voter ID laws (but some Voter ID laws have been upheld).2Voting Rights Act of 1965, codified at 52 U.S.C. § 10301(a); U.S. Constitution, 14th amendment

States may prohibit felons from voting.3Richardson v Ramirez (1974)


If you have been subject to any intimidation or harassment in voting, you can contact the U.S. Department of Justice.

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