Monday 26 February 2018

Have you broken the law today?

Independent Fine Gael candidate Ronan McMahon tweeted this picture of his vote, breaking the secrecy of the ballot.
Clare Cullen

Clare Cullen

Taking a 'selfie' in the voting booth carries a possible six-month jail sentence.

The 'selfie' craze has reached the local and European elections with voters being warned that taking a 'selfie' in the voting booth could land them in hot water.

In Ireland, the fine is reportedly up to €1,270 while in the UK, the fine could be as high as £5,000. Not only that, but in both countries the offence carries a possible jail term of up to six months.

Taking a 'selfie' in the polling booths may seem harmless, but even if you aren't caught by the attending staff, posting it on social media will alert the world to your indiscretion.

Speaking to, political scientist Dr. Theresa Reidy explained the reasoning for the law.

"There is a requirement to maintain the secrecy of the ballot - both yours and other peoples. You are not meant to give out any information which might show what way you or any other person voted."

"These laws pre-date 'selfies', but were created on the basis of eliminating electoral fraud and carry a jail term."

What's actually illegal is capturing any information on how someone voted in the elections - if you inadvertently capture even part of someone else's ballot you are liable for punishment.

You also cannot take a photograph of your own ballot once a mark has been made on said ballot.

Independent Fine Gael candidate Ronan McMahon tweeted this photo earlier, breaking the secrecy of the ballot and meaning he could possibly be fined up to €1,270 and/or serve up to six months in jail.


Other things you cannot do at the polling booth include 'helping' someone else to vote, having two people in the one booth,  leaving messages on your ballot paper or showing up to vote drunk. Two things candidates cannot do are canvass in the center or place posters within 100m of the polling center.

Were you about to break the law today or did you see anyone else do it? Tweet us @IndoEnts and let us know!

Voters across the UK and Ireland have been tweeting with #VotingSelfie - but most have played it safe and kept their 'selfie' to the exterior of the polling station.

Irish Independent

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