State Law: Documenting the Vote 2012

On this page, we provide a list of election laws, websites, and contact information for election officials in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Contacting your state election officials is a great way to get information about what your state allows in terms of documenting the vote. As you learn new information, please contact us and let us know how your state is handling these requests, so we can share that information on this site.

This page begins with a chart summarizing the law in each state in order to determine whether your state allows recording inside polling places. Click on your state for specific information and notes. For general guidelines on photography and videography in and around polling places, see the general Documenting the Vote 2012 page.

Select a state below to jump to its relevant information.

(Note: this chart is a work-in-progress. If you have additional information on this topic, please contact us. We're encouraging people to use the hashtag #DocTheVote12 to share with the world what you find out regarding filming at your polling place.)

State Does State Law Expressly Prohibit All Recording Inside the Polling Place?
* see below
Written Official Statement on Photos/Filming Exists
** see below, or click on your state name for more info
Photos or Filming of Own Marked Ballot Prohibited
*** see below
Alabama No X  
Alaska No   X
Arizona No X X see below
Arkansas No   ? see below
California No X see below X
Colorado No X X
Connecticut No   ? see below
Delaware ? see below
   
District of Columbia No   ? see below
Florida Yes X X
Georgia ? see below
  X
Hawaii No   ? see below
Idaho No   ? see below
Illinois No   X see below
Indiana No see below
  X
Iowa No X see below
X
Kansas No X ? see below
Kentucky Yes see below (1)
X
? see below (2)
Louisiana No X
X
Maine No   see below
Maryland No X see below (1)
? see below (2)
Massachusetts No X see below X
Michigan No X
X
Minnesota No X see below (1)
X see below (2)
Mississippi No X see below
X
Missouri No X see below X
Montana No   X
Nebraska No X see below
X
Nevada Yes   X
New Hampshire No   X see below
New Jersey No X see below
X
New Mexico No X see below X
New York No   X
North Carolina Yes see below   X
North Dakota No X see below
 
Ohio No X see below (1)
? see below (2)
Oklahoma No   X
Oregon No   X
Pennsylvania No   X see below
Rhode Island No X X
South Carolina No X
X
South Dakota No   X
Tennessee No    
Texas Yes
  X see below
Utah No   X see below
Vermont No X
  
Virginia No X
X
Washington No   X see below
West Virginia Yes see below
  X
Wisconsin No X X
Wyoming No    

* Regardless of whether there is a specific statute about photography or video, nearly all states prohibit conduct that intimidates voters, interferes with their exercise of the right to vote, or disrupts the voting process. Election officials may take the view that photography or videography runs afoul of these laws.

** This column identifies whether a state agency or official (e.g., the Secretary of State or the state's Attorney General) has made any statement on whether or how cameras are allowed to be used at a polling place. These statements may indicate that photography/video is: (1) prohibited, even though there is no specific statute on point; (2) allowed at the discretion of local poll officials; or (3) allowed in certain circumstances or under certain restrictions. Links to these statements appear below.

*** This column refers to the practice of photographing or filming one's own vote at the time of voting and afterwards displaying the image on a publicly accessible platform like the Internet. Streaming live video of your own marked ballot may create legal problems in additional states. "X" means that there is a law which may prohibit photographing or filming one's own marked ballot. "?" means the law is unclear. Keep in mind that states have these laws to prevent vote buying and coercion, so you should be cautious of publicly posting your ballot.



Alabama

Alaska

Arizona

  • Notes:

    • As noted in the Cronkite News article listed above in the "Other Resources" section, a spokesman for the Arizona Secretary of State's office stated on November 6, 2012, that there is "no law preventing" the photographing of one's own ballot in Arizona. This appears to conflict directly with Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 16-1018, which makes it a misdemeanor for someone to "show the voter’s ballot or the machine on which the voter has voted to any person after it is prepared for voting in such a manner as to reveal the contents, except to an authorized person lawfully assisting the voter." It is possible that the spokesperson's statements represent a decision by the Arizona Secretary of State not to enforce Section 16-1018 against people who photograph their ballots. However, this is essentially the exercise of discretion on the part of law enforcement rather than an annulment of the existing law, and voters are cautioned against relying upon this statement in future elections. The broad terms of Section 16-1018 make it possible that a different interpretation of the law might apply in later elections, should the Secretary of State's office change its policies.

Arkansas

  • Contact Information:
  • Relevant Law:

    • Link to Arkansas Code
      • Ark. Code § 7-1-103 - Miscellaneous misdemeanor offenses
      • Ark. Code § 7-1-104 - Miscellaneous felonies
      • Ark. Code § 7-5-309 - Voting procedure
      • Ark. Code § 7-5-310 - Privacy -- Assistance to disabled voters
      • Ark. Code § 7-5-521 - Arrangement of polling place

  • Notes:

    • Ark. Code § 7-1-103(a)(22) prohibits "any ... person in or out of this state in any primary, general, or special election in this state" from "divulg[ing] to any person the results of any votes cast for any candidate or on any issue in the election until after the closing of the polls on the day of the election." It is not clear whether this applies to individual votes or to the overall results of the election.

California

Colorado

Connecticut

  • Contact Information:
  • Relevant Law:

  • Notes:

    • Conn. Gen. Stat. § 9-366 criminalizes a wide range of activities relating to inducing others to disclose their votes and attempting to learn how another voter has cast his or her ballot. It also criminalizes "any act which invades or interferes with the secrecy of the voting or causes the same to be invaded or interfered with." It is not clear whether disclosure of one's own vote would violate the statute.

Delaware

  • Notes:

    • Del. Code tit. 15 § 7557(i)(1) states in part that "The Election Officers [when setting up a polling place] shall . . . take reasonable steps to ensure that no mirror or camera is in a position that would permit anyone to view the ballot." This would appear on its face to contemplate how the polling place is set up before the polls open (such as where a security camera exists in a room that is being used as a polling place), but we have received an email indicating that Delaware officials may be treating this as a prohibition on cameras more generally. Check with your local polling place.

District of Columbia

Florida

Georgia

  • Contact Information:
  • Relevant Law:

    • Ga. Code § 21-2-2(27) - Definitions (subparagraph 27 defines "Polling Place")
    • Ga. Code § 21-2-267 - Equipment and arrangement of polling places
    • Ga. Code § 21-2-413 - Conduct of voters, campaigners, and others at polling places generally
      • Note: 21-2-413(e) specifically prohibits the use of photographic or cellular devices while "within the enclosed space in a polling place."
    • Ga. Code § 21-2-414 - Restrictions on campaign activities and public opinion polling within the vicinity of a polling place; cellular phone use prohibited in voting booth
    • Ga. Code § 21-2-568 - Entry into voting compartment or booth while another voting; interfering with elector; inducing elector to reveal or revealing elector's vote without their consent

  • Notes:

    • Ga. Code § 21-2-413 states, "No elector shall use photographic or other electronic monitoring or recording devices or cellular telephones while such elector is within the enclosed space in a polling place." (Emphasis added.) Ga. Code § 21-2-2(27) defines the "polling place" as "the room provided in each precinct for voting[,]" while Ga. Code § 21-2-267 indicates that the "enclosed space" is the area within a "guardrail or barrier closing the inner portion of such room, which guardrail or barrier shall be so constructed and placed that only such persons as are inside such rail or barrier can approach within six feet of the ballot box." It is not clear whether use of recording devices may therefore be permitted within the "polling place" but outside of the "enclosed space"; check with local officials before taking pictures or video.

Hawaii

  • Contact Information:
    • Hawaii Office of Elections
    • Telephone number: (808) 453-VOTE
    • Neighbor Isle Toll-Free Number: (800) 442-VOTE
    • E-mail: elections@hawaii.gov

  • Relevant Law:


  • Notes:

    • Haw. Rev. Stat. § 11-137 states, "If any person ... willfully exhibits the person's ballot or the person's unvoted ballots in a special primary or primary election ... after the ballot has been marked, the person shall forfeit the person's right to vote, and the chairperson of the precinct officials shall cause a record to be made of the proceeding." It is not clear whether the limitation "in a special primary or primary election" applies only to unvoted ballots, which would allow display of an image of a voted ballot in a general, as opposed to primary, election.

Idaho

  • Contact Information:
  • Relevant Law:


  • Notes:

    • Idaho Code § 34-1110 provides in part that "[n]o judge, clerk or other person shall, directly or indirectly, attempt to induce any voter to display his ticket after he shall have marked the same, or to make known to any person the name of any candidate for or against whom he may have voted." It is unclear from the language of the statute whether the prohibition is meant to apply only against disclosures of another's vote, or disclosure of both yours and another's vote.

Illinois

  • Notes:

    • 10 Ill. Comp. Stat 5/29-9 states that "any person who knowingly marks his ballot or casts his vote on a voting machine or voting device so that it can be observed by another person, and any person who knowingly observes another person lawfully marking a ballot or lawfully casting his vote on a voting machine or voting device, shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony." It is not clear whether this provision would apply to display of a ballot after it has been marked, or just to the actual act of marking the ballot. If the latter interpretation were followed, it would still be unlawful to livestream your activities in the voting booth, and possibly to post video of your filling out your ballot.

Indiana

  • Contact Information:
  • Relevant Law:


  • Notes:

    • Indiana has a specific statute governing media access to polls, which is limited to "daily, weekly, semiweekly, or triweekly newspaper[s] of general circulation," "news service[s]," and "radio or television station[s]" operating in the county where an election is held. (Ind. Code § 3-6-10-1.) These individuals are allowed to take photographs, except when the photography would reveals how voters are voting and when a voter objects to being photographed. (Ind. Code 3-6-10-5.) It is unclear whether election officials will limit photography to those who meet this traditional media definition.

Iowa

  • Notes:

    • The Iowa Secretary of State's guidelines on election operation instruct local election officials to "Allow members of the media to be inside the polling place to take photographs or film activity, but do not allow them to interfere with the voting process." (See page 16.) The Secretary's guidelines ask members of the media to identify themselves, but do not explicitly require any form of formal identification. Members of the media are instructed not to record how individuals voted.

Kansas

  • Other Resources:

  • Notes:

    • Kan. Stat. § 25-2422 defines an "unauthorized voting disclosure" as "while being charged with any election duty, intentionally ...[d]isclosing or exposing the contents of any ballot or the manner in which the ballot has been voted, except as ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction." It is not clear from the statute whether voters are considered to be "charged with an election duty," or whether this only applies to election officials with access to completed ballots.

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

  • Other Resources:

  • Notes:

    • (1) No specific statute addresses the ability to record inside the polling place, but Minn. Stat. § 204C.06(2) states that an individual may only remain in the polling area "while voting or registering to vote, providing proof of residence for an individual who is registering to vote, or assisting a disabled voter or a voter who is unable to read English." An exception is made for news media, but only when "with either a recognized media credential or written statement from a local election official attesting to the media representative's credentials." § 204C.06(8). An email from the Secretary of State's office from 2008 stated that "the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State strongly discourages voters from using cameras or video recorders in the polling place." The Secretary of State's guide for election officials also notes that party-appointed challengers should not be allowed to "take pictures within the polling place." (See p. 16.)
    • (2) § 204C.17 states that "a voter shall not reveal to anyone in the polling place the name of any candidate for whom the voter intends to vote or has voted" (emphasis added). It is unclear whether Minnesota courts would apply this section to photography which subsequently reveals to the public how the voter has voted.

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

  • Notes:

    • A 2010 press release from the Nebraska Secretary of State states that the Secretary "request[s] that people turn off their cell phones and refrain from using cameras" while at the polls.

Nevada

New Hampshire

  • Notes:

    • N.H. Rev. Stat. § 659:35 states that "No voter shall allow his ballot to be seen by any person with the intention of letting it be known how he is about to vote . . ." (emphasis added). It is unclear whether New Hampshire courts would apply this prohibition to disclosures made after the ballot has been cast.

New Jersey

New Mexico

  • Notes:

    • New Mexico Administrative Code § 1.10.22.9(G) (pdf) prohibits election observers from using cell phones and electronic recording equipment during a provisional ballot counting process, but no similar regulation exists for non-provisional ballots.

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

  • Contact Information:
  • Relevant Law:

  • Notes:

    • While tangential to the question of whether a camera will be allowed in the polling place, a lawsuit challenging North Dakota's general anti-electioneering statute, N.D. Code § 16.1-10-06, just resulted in a preliminary injunction against the electioneering statute's enforcement. Emineth v. Jaeger, No. 1:12-cv-139, (D.N.D. Oct. 31, 2012). Separate statutes specifically prohibit other election-day activity at the polling place, including wearing political buttons or other insignia at the polling place (N.D. Code § 16.1-10-03) and "selling, soliciting for sale, advertising for sale, or distributing any merchandise, product, literature, or service" at the polling place (N.D. Code § 16.1-10-06.2). It is unclear how this recent opinion will impact treatment of requests to film at the polling place.

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

  • Contact Information:
  • Relevant Law:

    • Pa. Const. Art. VII, § 4 - Secrecy in voting
    • Link to Pennsylvania Statutes
      • 25 Pa. Stat. § 2642 - Powers and duties of county boards
      • 25 Pa. Stat. § 3054 - Admission of electors within enclosed space
      • 25 Pa. Stat. § 3057 - Time allowed elector in voting booth or voting machine compartment
      • 25 Pa. Stat. § 3060 - Regulations in f0rce at polling places
      • 25 Pa. Stat. § 3530 - Unlawful assistance in voting
      • 25 Pa. Stat. § 3547 - Prohibiting duress and intimidation of voters and interference with the free exercise of the elective franchise

  • Other Resources:

  • Notes:

    • 25 Pa. Stat. § 3530 prohibits a voter from revealing a "ballot or the face of the voting machine voted by him to be seen by any person with the apparent intention of letting it be known how he is about to vote." (Emphasis added.) This would appear to prohibit live streaming of an unsubmitted ballot, but not the publication of images of a ballot after it has been submitted. Violation of this provision is a misdemeanor, punishible by a fine not exceeding $1000, imprisonment of not more than one year, or both.

Rhode Island

  • Contact Information:
  • Relevant Law:

    • R.I. Code § 17-19-21 - Arrangement of polling places; election officials; police officers
    • R.I. Code § 17-19-23 - Wardens and supervisors; powers and duties
    • R.I. Code § 17-19-24 - Procedure for Voting
    • R.I. Code § 17-23-15 - Polling or surveying of voter opinion
    • Rhode Island State Board of Elections Rules and Regulations for Polling Place Conduct
      • Rule 5(B) states, "Electronic recording of the election process is allowed inside the polling place as long as it is done outside of the railed or enclosed voting area. Electronic recording devices may not hinder the election process or compromise a voter's right to cast a secret ballot by recording the specific votes(s) cast by any person." The Board of Elections has informed us that this Rule is interpreted to prohibit the filming or photographing of "any voted ballot by anyone," presumably barring a voter's photograph of his or her own ballot.

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

  • Contact Information:
  • Relevant Law:


  • Notes:

    • Utah Code § 20A-3-504 prohibits a voter's display of his/her ballot "with an intent to reveal how he[/she] is about to vote." (Emphasis added.) This would appear to prohibit live streaming of an unsubmitted ballot, but not the publication of images of a ballot after it has been submitted.

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

  • Notes:
    • § 29A.84.420 states, in relevant part, "It is a gross misdemeanor for a person to ... assist another to examine, any ... ballot, ... if the person, without lawful authority, conducts the examination: ... (b) For the purpose of determining how a voter, whose name is known to the person, voted[.]" Although the statute is not a model of clear drafting, it appears that the first "person" is the person disclosing the ballot, while the second "person" referenced in the sentence -- with respect to whom the question of lawful authority is relevant -- is the person conducting the examination. The statute could therefore apply to a voter who discloses his or her own ballot to another person who does not have "lawful authority" to review it.

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming

  • Contact Information:
  • Relevant Law:

    • Link to Wyoming Statutes, Title 22 - Elections
      • Wyo. Stat. § 22-13-103 - Preservation of order; space around voting booths and machines
      • Wyo. Stat. § 22-13-106 - Marking and depositing of paper ballots
      • Wyo. Stat. § 22-13-113 - Persons permitted in voting booth; time limit
      • Wyo. Stat. §§ 22-26-112, 114 - Prohibiting creation of disturbance at polling place

Last updated on November 9th, 2012

   
 
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