Johnson bill allowing ‘ballot selfies’ passes out of committee

Categories: Steven Johnson News

Today, the House Elections and Ethics committee passed a Rep. Steve Johnson bill that would allow Michigan voters to take “ballot selfies.”

Currently, Michigan Secretary of State rules prohibit voters from taking photos of their ballots. Johnson’s legislation would allow a voter, whether at a polling place or voting absentee, to take a picture of their ballot.

Johnson testified before the committee with Joel Crookston, the plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging Michigan’s election law banning ballot selfies.

“This is a simple free speech issue to me,” said Crookston. “The state ban on ballot selfies is an affront to the First Amendment to the Constitution, which protects our freedom of speech.”

Johnson, R-Wayland, said his bill reflects the changing intersection between technology, free speech and Michigan’s election process. Twenty states currently allow “ballot selfies” to be taken by voters.

“Around the country, people increasingly are sharing pictures of their ballot as a way to show support for candidates and issues,” said Johnson. “It is our responsibility to preserve and protect this form of free speech in Michigan.”

House Bill 4328 passed out of committee with bipartisan support and now moves on to the full House for consideration.