Snapchat is fighting for your right to take a voting day ballot selfie

electionland google trends map 2016 election polling issues voting ballot box registration elections voter turnout curtain fe
Scukrov/123RF
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?

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: 1-handed drone control, a pot that stirs itself

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Gaming

These are the best Xbox One games available right now

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From 'Cuphead' to 'Halo 5,' the best Xbox One games offer something for everyone.
Movies & TV

Out of movies to binge? Our staff picks the best flicks on Hulu right now

From classics to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Product Review

Why get anything bigger? The new Mac Mini is all the desktop you need

Apple’s new Mac Mini doesn’t look much different from its predecessor, and it’s more expensive. Yet the changes under the hood make a case for its consideration as your new Mac. Can this entry-level machine hold its own?
Product Review

The HTC U12 Life is a midrange contender, but it’s no champion

The HTC U12 Life is a midrange smartphone with a large 6-inch screen, plenty of battery life, and a dual lens camera, but it bears little relation to its bigger sibling. Find out if it’s worth considering in our HTC U12 Life review.
Smart Home

Picture this: The Aura packs thousands of photos in a single frame (for a price)

Are you one of those people who miss the good old days of flipping through photo albums to see each and every favorite photo? If so, you might love the Aura digital photo frame. We tested the device and came away impressed.
Photography

Get up close and personal with this telephoto lens for your phone

Moment is replacing its aging 60mm telephoto lens with a new 58mm tele lens, redesigned from the ground up for the latest iPhone, Pixel, and Galaxy phones. Mount it onto the phone via a case and get closer with 2x optical zoom.
Photography

Full frame or 4K for less than $1K? These 4 older cameras still have a lot to offer

Looking for a great camera deal? Sometimes, you might be better off buying one that's a few years -- last generation's professional models may not cost much more than today's entry-level models.
Photography

Golf ball-sized Lume Cube Air is a pocketable LED for photos and video

Off-camera lighting for smartphones and GoPros just got even smaller. Meet the Lume Cube Air, a smaller portable LED light designed for photos and videos that weighs only about two ounces.
Photography

Edit portraits with A.I. and adjust focus in the new ON1 Photo RAW 2019 editor

ON1 Photo RAW 2019 now has a dedicated tab for portraits that automatically recognizes faces to help with retouching. The update also brings a new focus stacking tool, enhancements to layers, and improvements to local adjustments.
Mobile

Taking shots in the dark with Night Sight, the Pixel’s newest photo feature

The Google Pixel range has always been the home of some of the mobile world's best phone cameras. That performance is now getting even better with the introduction of the low-light Night Sight mode.
Photography

Alpha Female: Sony awards five women grants to support artisan diversity

Women can face several challenges in launching a photography career -- Sony's latest initiative aims to help propel women in the industry forward. Sony recently announced the winners of the Alpha Female program.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Product Review

Fewer pixels, better camera? The Nikon Z6 shows the beauty of restraint

The Nikon Z6 is the sibling to the new mirrorless Z7 -- but for some photographers, the cheaper Z6 may be the better option. Read where the $2,000 camera beats the $3,400 one (and where it doesn’t) in our Nikon Z6 review.