A federal judge in Colorado blocked enforcement of a 19th-century state law that bans voters from showing a completed ballot to others, the latest in a flurry of mixed legal rulings on whether to restrict election “selfies” on social media.
U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello in Denver issued a preliminary injunction against an 1891 Colorado statute that makes it a misdemeanor offense to reveal the contents of one’s ballot.
The ruling came in response to two separate lawsuits by voters challenging enforcement of the law on grounds that it violates their free-speech rights.
“By issuing an injunction in this case, Coloradans get what they are entitled to – clarity on an issue that implicates fundamental constitutional rights,” Arguella wrote in her 26-page ruling.
The controversy erupted last week after Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey reminded voters of the law, which he said would “include posting your completed ballot to social media.”
However, prosecutors from several jurisdictions, including Denver, filed declaration with the court this week saying they would not enforce the misdemeanor law unless evidence showed that voter intimidation or coercion was involved.
“Based on our review of applicable law and societal changes, including the ubiquity of social media … the District Attorney’s Office would not charge anyone with an offense … for taking a photograph or video of a completed Colorado mail-in ballot,” Denver prosecutor Joseph Morales wrote.
Colorado is among 18 states that have laws restricting the taking of photographs in voting booths or of completed ballots. Courts in other states and federal jurisdictions have issued mixed rulings against enforcing such bans.
Federal judges in New York and California refused this week to block enforcement of state laws barring voters from taking photographs of marked ballots, saying it was too close to next Tuesday’s presidential election to issue such injunctions.
Colorado’s attorney general cited the California and New York decisions in defending Colorado’s law.
Lawyers for the Colorado voters said the state’s mail-in voting system, which allows ballots to be filled out anywhere and then either mailed or dropped off, sets Colorado apart from California and New York, where voters must cast ballots at a polling place.
Last month, a federal court sided with a voter who challenged a Michigan anti-selfie statute as a free-speech violation.
(Editing by Steve Gorman and Jacqueline Wong)
Modi tells Xi summit will launch ‘new era’ for India and China
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Saturday that his summit with Chinese leader Xi Xinping would launch a "new era" between the neighbours who are seeking to overcome troublesome differences.
Modi and Xi strolled along a pristine Bay of Bengal beach and held one-on-one talks overlooking the ocean before their delegations sat down to official negotiations at the historic resort town of Mahbalipuram, south of Chennai.
The two leaders are meeting for the second time in a year in a bid to ease tensions over border disputes, the troubled Kashmir region and China's domination of trade between their huge economies.
Trump calls for impeachment of Mitt Romney for criticizing him in rambling tweet
Hours after Donald Trump attacked Sen. Mitt Romney for being critical of his call for the Chinese to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden, the president was back for another round, calling for the Utah Republiocan to be impeached.
Claiming without evidence that voters in Utah are turning on their senator, Trump claimed, "I’m hearing that the Great People of Utah are considering their vote for their Pompous Senator, Mitt Romney, to be a big mistake. I agree! He is a fool who is playing right into the hands of the Do Nothing Democrats!" followed by: #IMPEACHMITTROMNEY
Trump claimed ‘inequality is down’ — one day later federal data showed the exact opposite is true
"The separation between rich and poor from 2017 and 2018 was greater than it has ever been."
Federal data released Thursday showed U.S. income inequality in 2018 reached the highest level since the Census Bureau began measuring it five decades ago, a finding that comes less than 24 hours after President Donald Trump said "inequality is down."