We live in a digital age where many people post details about their lives on social media.
Most people have friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat that post photos or videos of everything from their food, to the kids, their pets and the ever iconic selfie. However, it’s those selfies that are leading to some trouble for voters.
Elections Alberta has had to issue several reminders and warnings that it is illegal for voters to take a selfie with their ballots. The electoral authority even took to Twitter to let people know it’s not allowed.
PUBLIC REMINDER: It is an offense to post a picture of your ballot online. If you have done so, please remove it immediately, or you may be subject to prosecution. Thank you.— Elections Alberta (@ElectionsAB) April 9, 2019
“People get excited about voting and they want to put a selfie up of them with their ballot of them and how they voted and share it with their friends,” explained deputy chief electoral officer Drew Westwater.
“That’s illegal, not allowed to do, it’s a criminal offence. So we just wanted to let people know that in advance and we just wanted to shut that down as quickly as possible in advance.”
Westwater adds the whole democratic system in Canada is based on the fact you have a secret ballot and posting photos of it violates the integrity of the election process.
“Nobody will ever know how you voted and they’re not entitled to know how you voted,” said Westwater. “That is sacrosanct and it is to be private at all times.”
Elections Alberta said you can still take a selfie when you go to vote, it just can’t be taken inside the polling station to protect the privacy of other voters.
Advance polls will be open until Saturday at 8:00 P.M. otherwise you can vote on election day which is Tuesday, April 16th 2019, between 9:00 A.M. and 8:00 P.M.
Approximately 403,000 Albertans have voted in the first three advance polling days, 140,000 on Tuesday, 136,000 on Wednesday, and 127,000 on Thursday. More votes were cast in the first two days alone, than in the four days of advance polls in 2015; 235,000 Albertans in total voted at advance polls during that election.
Elections Alberta estimates there are around 2.7 million registered voters in Alberta.