That inescapable urge you have to take a selfie at all times may be hard to describe. Sometimes it feels like absolutely no one understands how important it is to you to capture each instance, and optimize it with the appropriate, sepia-toned, filter.
In fact, at present, certain American states will not even let you take selfies in the ballot box. Can you believe it?
Worry not, Snapchat feels your outrage, and understands your pain. And, best of all, the popular messaging app is doing something about it. Yes, that’s right; Snapchat is fighting the good fight, helping you exercise your God-given right to take a photo while voting.
The company has filed an amicus brief against such a ban in New Hampshire. Despite the act being deemed illegal in that state and certain others, including California and Pennsylvania, Snapchat claims it has received thousands of these images from users around the country.
In its 26-page brief, Snapchat claims that crowd-sourced political coverage is a major basis of content on its app, especially in regard to its Live Story format. The company argues that laws limiting people from taking and sharing such photos or videos restrict news gathering, reports Fox 40.
The amicus brief is the first standalone filing by Snapchat, which previously participated in joint briefs, including Apple’s highly-publicized encryption case against the FBI.
“The ballot selfie captures the very essence of that [political] process as it happens — the pulled lever, the filled-in bubble, the punched-out chad — and thus dramatizes the power that one person has to influence our government,” reads the brief.
The states that have the ban in place claim it prevents voter fraud, as images that prove how individuals have voted can be used to sell votes, or coerce others into voting. New Hampshire, for its part, saw the law that prohibited ballot box photos struck down by a federal court. The case is now being appealed in the First Circuit Court of Appeals, and Snapchat wants the federal decision to go unchanged.
The multimedia-messaging app is arguing that ballot selfies are the modern-day version of campaign pins, or “I Voted” stickers. Furthermore, Snapchat claims that voting day photos encourage its younger users to participate in the political process, leading to a higher voter turnout as a result.
We live in a democracy folks. If you can exercise your right to vote, you should also be able to exercise your right to record that moment, and maybe add an emoji to it, and send it to all your friends.
Whether you’re feeling the Bern in the ballot box, high-fiving Hillary, or triumphantly ticking your support for Trump, the presence of a smartphone is what makes the moment. Otherwise, how will anyone even know about your essential role in shaping our nation’s future?