Wednesday, 26 February 2020 18:41

Reminder: Photographing a voted ballot is against the law

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Reminder: Photographing a voted ballot is against the law RO file photo

Raleigh — The State Board of Elections is reminding voters that North Carolina law prohibits taking photographs of or videotaping voted ballots

Voters are allowed to have phones or electronic devices with them while voting as long as those devices are not used to photograph or videotape a ballot or communicate with anyone via voice, text, email or any other method.

“We understand wanting to photograph yourself voting, especially with the popularity of selfies,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “However, there are legal ways to display your voting pride, such as wearing your ‘I Voted’ sticker or taking a picture outside of the precinct.”

Photographing a marked ballot is illegal in part because such photographs could be used as proof of a vote for a candidate in a vote-buying scheme. Electronic communication while voting is prohibited because of limits on voter assistance and to prevent disruptions in the voting enclosure.

Voters may bring voting guides, notes and other materials into the voting booth. They also may use electronic devices to access a slate card or candidate information, provided they don’t use the devices to communicate with anyone.

Additional reminders: Primary Election Day is Tuesday, March 3. Early voting is open each day this week through Saturday. To find an early voting site in your county, use the lookup tool at or view a complete list of sites and hours here:

“Early voting is open every day this week in each county in North Carolina,” Brinson Bell said. “Voters should be prepared for longer lines later in the week, as the last two days of early voting are typically among the busiest.”

In a primary election, voters select which candidates will appear on the ballot for a given political party in the general election in November. For example, the winner of a Democratic Party primary will be that party’s nominee on the general election ballot in November.

Voters who are registered with one of the five recognized political parties (Constitution, Democratic, Green, Libertarian, or Republican) may only cast a ballot in that party’s primary election. Unaffiliated voters may request a Democratic, Libertarian, or Republican ballot, or nonpartisan ballot, if available.

Unaffiliated voters may not vote ballots of the Constitution or Green parties, as those parties conduct closed primaries. Selecting a party’s ballot does not change a voter’s unaffiliated status.