Do You Have the Right to Take a Ballot Selfie? Check Your State.
Election day is near and photos of people casting their ballots have already started to flow onto social media. But, depending on what state you live in, that voting selfie might be illegal
Natalie has been writing professionally for about 6 years. After graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in Feature Writing, she snagged a job at PCMag.com where she had the opportunity to review all the latest consumer gadgets. Since then she has become a writer for hire, freelancing for various websites. In her spare time, you may find her riding her motorcycle, reading YA novels, hiking, or playing video games. Follow her on Twitter: @nat_schumaker
There are some issues which only come around every four years. Election day is near and photos of people casting their ballots have already started to flow onto social media. But, depending on what state you live in, that voting selfie might be illegal.
Justin Timberlake took a selfie in a voting booth in Memphis, Tennessee in an attempt to get people excited about the voting process. Instead, his gesture reignited a recent debate surrounding photographing oneself voting.
For Timberlake, technically, Tennessee law forbids voters from using phones “for telephone conversations, recording, or taking photographs or videos while inside the polling place." However, voting selfies of mail-in ballots are a legal gray area in this state.
As for the other 49 states… some have some concrete language describing the use of cellphones, photography, and/or the sharing of voter choices.
Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Wisconsin.
Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming.
Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Iowa, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia, Tennessee.
Why it’s illegal in some states
Some have argued ballot selfies should be protected under free speech. However, for some states, the argument isn’t about speech, but protecting the process and the privacy of the people participating. The reason these laws were enacted long ago was to prevent vote-buying. A photograph is proof.
But many see vote-buying as a thing of the past, and that any vote-buying would be overshadowed by the enormously encouraging effect vote-sharing can have on a community. Snapchat argued, in a recent court case attempting to overturn New Hampshire’s ban on ballot selfies, “It is precisely because a ballot selfie proves how a voter has exercised her franchise that it is an unmatched expression of civic engagement. There is, simply put, no substitute for this speech.”
There’s evidence to suggest sharing whether or not you voted can affect turnout. A recent Facebook experiment suggests how sharing the simple fact that “I voted” can influence others to vote. “Our study shows that the truth is somewhere in between: online networks are powerful... but it is those real-world ties that we have always had that are making a difference,” says James Fowler, a political scientist at the University of California, San Diego.
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If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.
- A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
- It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
- Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.
Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.
Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons
13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.
It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.
But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.
John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."
What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.
Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.
The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.
- The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
- The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
- It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
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