Oct 4, 2014 3:06 PM

No selfies: Brazil keeps phones out of vote booths

The Associated Press

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Some of the globe's biggest users of social media, Brazilians snap selfies at the beach, at soccer matches, at the gym, in maternity wards and even inside the dens of drug-dealing gangs.

But at least one place in Brazil is off-limits to the selfie: the voting booth during Sunday's elections.

Under Brazilian law, it's illegal to take filming devices into voting booths, and the main reason is to combat vote buying.

The nation's top electoral court cites reports of vote buying in Rio de Janeiro in recent years, where selfies shot inside voting booths were used as proof that paid-off voters had upheld their part of the deal, in exchange for appliances, food baskets and even small cash payments.

More than 30 U.S. states also expressly ban photos in the voting booth, as do several other nations.

Despite Brazil's cellphone restrictions, those bent on documenting their voting experience could still be able to game the system. The electoral court said no searches aimed at apprehending clandestine phones would be conducted at the polling stations.

Brazilians are among the globe's most voracious users of social media, and are among the top markets for Facebook and Twitter.

The elections have played out on social media, with Facebook reporting 240 million election-related activities such as likes, posts and shares since July.


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