RALEIGH – In case you didn’t know it; snapping pictures of your, or anyone else’s, ballot for social media is a ‘No-No’ as far as state law is concerned. That may have slipped the mind of state lawmaker Rep. Chris Malone (R-WAKE).
“Rep. Chris Malone, a Wake Forest Republican running for a fourth term in state House district 35, encouraged people to participate in early voting that started on Wednesday. He may have broken a state law doing by doing so.
A post from Malone’s Twitter account, which has since been deleted, shows a picture of the ballot for Malone’s district. The bubble next to Malone’s name is filled in.
The representative quickly caught some heat on Twitter over the photo, including from the state Democratic Party spokesman.
The reason for the backlash? It is illegal in the state of North Carolina to take photos of official ballots marked with votes.
“The law is in place in part to deter vote buying because a photograph of a marked ballot could be used as proof to show that someone voted for a particular candidate,” Patrick Gannon, the spokesman for the state elections board, said in a phone interview.”
‘So what?’ you might say. Granted, tweeting a photo of a ballot to show who you voted for seems harmless in 99 out of 100 circumstances. Plus, the N.C. Democratic Party is all too happy to blow the issue up because it was a Republican state lawmaker that made the mistake.
But then Rep, Malone tried to cover up the mistake with a demonstrable lie…
“Gannon confirmed to The News and Observer the ballot in the tweet is a real ballot. “We don’t know whose ballot it is. There is an investigator assigned to it,” he said.
A follow-up tweet from Malone’s account says the “photo was taken off a sample ballot in a private residence.”
In addition, the account tweeted a photo of a sample ballot, with the caption “much Ado about nothing.” However, the sample ballot is different from the one originally posted to Malone’s account.
Malone’s name isn’t on the ballot in the follow-up tweet. Instead, the sample ballot is for district 34, where the Republican candidate is Catherine Whiteford. In addition, the ballot in the first photo has numbers equally spaced out on the side, whereas the second ballot does not.”