Tens of millions of dollars will be spent by both Democrats and Republicans to pry voters off their couches and get them into election booths on November 8.
The GOP will have ponied up some $100 million on mobilization efforts, according to NewsMax. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will shell out $60 million for what MSNBC calls “a turbo-charged, data-driven ground operation that aims to ensure the 2014 electorate looks more like 2012—which saw massive turnout from minorities and young people.” Billionaire liberal Tom Steyer and the mammoth Service Employees International Union reportedly launched a $10 million GOTV drive last July. And celebrities such as JayZ, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Lopez and Jon Bon Jovi will all be performing or making appearances to stoke the turnout for Hillary Clinton.
A lot of these efforts will be aimed at disaffected and disengaged voters – many of them young.
But here’s how NOT to encourage Millennials and so many others of the self-obsessed among us from casting ballots: Ban selfies at polling places.
As the Associated Press reports, for one reason or another it is illegal in 18 states to take a photo of yourself exercising your right to vote. In New Jersey, for example, a law prohibits showing your ballot to anyone else, although there is a pending bill that would allow voters to share their choices on social media.
Perhaps the most Draconian state is Illinois, where it is a felony with a potential three-year prison sentence to let someone else see your ballot. Even in permissive Colorado, voter selfies are a misdemeanor.
The District of Columbia and 19 states allow selfies. That includes Rhode Island, which passed a sensible new law: It permits selfies in polling places as long as they don’t show anyone else’s ballot.
In the remainder of the states, laws are unclear, the AP says.
Justin Timberlake, who flew from Los Angeles to his hometown of Memphis to vote early, could have been in hot water for taking a selfie at his polling place and posting it to encourage fans to do their duty on Election Day, since Tennessee prohibits photos in voting booths.
A spokesman said Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett was “thrilled Justin can’t stop the feeling when it comes to voting,” but noted that mobile devices inside polling places are best used for informational purposes.
What he should have said is that laws banning selfies in voting booths are silly and counterproductive. Instead of being a crime to take a picture of yourself voting, ballot-booth selfies should be a badge of honor you plaster all over your Facebook page and tweet out to the world – or at least the 73 people following you.
Just imagine if voting selfies became a thing.