NH1 News Debates


Feb 3, 2015 2:25 PM

Kevin Landrigan: The state's ban on ballot selfies is under attack


This one is a classic battle between the First Amendment and cracking down on voter intimidation or fraud.

With Facebook and Twitter around election time, taking ballot selfies became a common practice starting about a decade ago.

The Legislature made New Hampshire the first state in the nation to outlaw them last year.

Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan said this was just the latest way for the state to keep voter fraud to a minimum.

"We are simply trying to stay up with the times. In a way it's no different than the Fish and Game Department, in recent headlines, you know we have to look at drones and people hunting and fishing,'' Scanlan said.

But conservative Republicans joined by the liberal American Civil Liberties Union is pressing for repeal of the law they insist is unconstitutional. A federal challenge to the law could go to trial as early as next month.

State Rep. John Burt, R-Goffstown, said the reform to ban selfies was a solution in search of a problem that didn't exist.

"Once this picture was taken, it was put up on Facebook, it did nobody any harm, it didn't sway the vote either way,'' Burt told the House Election Laws Committee.

The committee heard testimony on the second of two bills to reverse the ban on selfies.

Both face opposition from House Speaker Shawn Jasper, R-Hudson, and his Republican leadership team that is standing with Secretary of State Bill Gardner against the bills.


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