Like my vote? Michigan lifts ban on ballot selfies

Michigan
Ballot Box Bedlam_257228

Voting booths are all filled as the polls opened at town hall in Woodbury, Vt., Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan voters are free to take a picture of their ballot before they leave a voting booth.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has settled a 2016 lawsuit that challenged a ban on so-called ballot selfies. The ban on displaying completed ballots has been around since 1891.

Benson’s office and Joel Crookston, a voter in the Kalamazoo area, reached a deal in April. But no details were released until Wednesday, a day after local elections around Michigan.

The agreement says voters can photograph their marked ballot. They still can’t take a photo of themselves in a polling place.

“It’s really about taking a picture, leaving a polling place and posting it online,” said Crookston’s attorney, Stephen Klein. “There haven’t been problems in states that have embraced this. People are just celebrating their vote.”

In 2012, Crookston took a picture of his ballot and posted it on social media. He wasn’t challenged by election officials, but a lawyer warned him that it was illegal and could disqualify his ballot.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson issued a statement calling the settlement fair.

“We reached a resolution that allows voters to have a full opportunity to express themselves, while at the same time ensuring that voters retain the ability to vote in private and without disruption or discomfort,” said Benson, a Democrat who took over the office in January from Republican Ruth Johnson, who had defended the ban.

The state also will pay $90,000 for Crookston’s legal fees.

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