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Justin Timberlake deleted ballot selfie after possibly breaking election laws

Posted at 5:49 PM, Oct 25, 2016

Musician and pop icon Justin Timberlake deleted a photo from Instagram of him with his ballot after he apparently broke Tennessee's election law prohibiting photography at the ballot box. 

Timberlake had flown to his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee to cast a ballot for next month's election on Monday.

Many states have a law that prohibits voters from taking photographs of their ballot while voting. While you cannot see who Timberlake voted for, he is clearly in the ballot box during the act of voting.

According to a bill passed by Tennessee's legislature in 2015, "This bill prohibits voters from using cell phones and other electronic devices for telephone conversations, recording, or taking photographs or videos while inside the polling location."

Violation of the law is considered a misdemeanor.

"I just flew from LA to Memphis to #rockthevote !!! No excuses, my good people! There could be early voting in your town too. If not, November 8th," Timberlake wrote.  

While few have been charged for taking photos at the ballot box, there has been a push to legalize ballot selfies. 

Taking digital photography inside the voting both is only legal in eight states, according to the Huffington Post. Many states allow for photography inside the polling place, but not actually inside the voting booth. Other states ban photography at the polling place completely.

A person could be charged with a felony in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin for taking photos at the ballot booth.

But with the advent of Snapchat, the social media company has taken the state of New Hampshire to federal court over the issue.

The state argued that the law was necessary to to prevent ballot photography to be used as a means of voting fraud or intimidation. The plaintiffs argued that prohibiting ballot photography denied voters their free speech rights.

In September, a federal appeals court ruled 3-0 that the state had not shown that it was using the least restrictive means to achieve a compelling state interest of prohibiting voting fraud. According to the ruling, New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner was unable to show examples of how ballot photography led to voting fraud.

"The restriction affects voters who are engaged in core political speech, an area highly protected by the First Amendment," the ruling states. "There is an increased use of social media and ballot selfies in particular in service of political speech by voters. A ban on ballot selfies would suppress a large swath of political speech."