Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Voting-booth selfies: free speech, or fodder for vote-buying?


Rather suddenly, the issue of “selfies” taken in voting booths has become an issue, especially in New Hampshire, where it can lead to a $1000 fine for the voter.

Erik Eckholm explores the issue for the New York Times today (p. A10), link here
  
While the voter might claim that this should be protected by the First Amendments, opponents claim this could lead to the practice of buying votes. For example, a voter’s boss (or union) could demand that the voter bring back a cell-phone photo proving he had voted for the politically correct candidate from the employer’s (or union’s) viewpoint.  This is an example in our legal system where someone maintains something must be forbidden, because if it were permitted indirect harm could come to others through long term aggregate perverse incentives.  (But sodomy laws used to be justified this way.)
  
I can remember that some employers used to have their own PAC’s, and could conceivably pressure employees to join them.  Running for office is often seen as a potential “conflict of interest”.

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