While there are many different political issues that millennial voters openly support, there seems to be a strong consensus among young people that selfies and Snapchat are both pretty cool. And it seems that the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston agrees with them, too.
Yesterday, the three-judge panel unanimously voted to uphold a lower court ruling that declared New Hampshire's ban of snapping photos while voting unconstitutional. With the ruling, voters in New Hampshire will be able to take a selfie in the voting booth this November.
New Hampshire first banned so-called "ballot selfies" in 2014, arguing that it might increase vote buying and voter intimidation. After a federal court overturned the ban, the case went to an appeals court. That's when Snapchat stepped in to oppose the ban.
"Today's ruling is a victory for free speech in the digital age," Chris Handman, general counsel for Snapchat, said after Wednesday's ruling. "We're thrilled the court recognized that ballot selfies are an important way for Americans — especially younger Americans — to participate in the political process."
Laws regarding voting selfies vary by state. In some states, it is currently legal. In roughly half the states, the practice is banned. And in about a dozen states, the law is somewhat vague. Hopefully, Wednesday's ruling will inspire other states to legalize ballot selfies.
2016 will mark the first time that the number of eligible millennial voters will match the number of eligible baby boomer voters. Selfies, snaps, and tweets are all seen as ways to potentially increase voter turnout for millennials.
"Social media environment makes individual voices matter and give a greater sense of agency," Dr. Pamela Rutledge, director of the Media Psychology Research Center, told the Observer. "Think of it as peer pressure or encouragement to participate."
Recently, Snapchat launched an initiative to help its users register to vote.
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