British Votes: takingpolling station selfie could result in 6-month jail sentence


British voters have been warned that taking a polling station selfie could result in a six-month jail sentence or hefty fine.

The Electoral Commission has advised voters against photography inside polling stations so that they can avoid inadvertently breaching laws on the secrecy of ballots.

Although there is nothing to stop someone taking a picture of their own ballot paper, it is an offence to send this information to anyone else.

Sharing a photographic image of a ballot paper could infringe secrecy requirements under Section 66 of the Representation of the People Act 1983.

Those found guilty of such a breach can face a fine or even six months in prison.

Concerns that selfies could threaten the secrecy of ballots first surfaced last yearahead of local and European elections when it emerged that polling station staff had been told to stop people taking selfies.

The Commission broadcast a similar warning to all returning officers, polling stations put up signs, and some staff received training in what a selfie is and how to spot someone who is about to take one in a polling booth.

This year the Commission have said that selfies taken outside polling stations are fine, and might even encourage others to vote ? but sharing photos taken inside could be illegal.

They said: ?The law against releasing information obtained in a polling station is there to protect the integrity of the poll and the secrecy of the ballot.

?Remember that pictures of you before you go into or after you leave the polling station are great to use on social media posts but don?t take a picture of yourself inside the polling station as if you post this it could be a breach of the law.?

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