Skip to primary navigation Skip to main content

Take a breath, ballot Instagrammers



This morning, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz sent out a photograph of his completed ballot to his Twitter followers. His message: "Here you go Mr. President. Not the same as a vote in Ohio but one nevertheless for @BarackObama."

Not long after that, some local Twitter users repeated claims that have been on the rise nationally that sharing photographs of completed ballots classified as a misdemeanor. Indeed, a provision of New York State election law actually seemed to indicate that might be true.

I put a call in to Erie County election commissioner Dennis E. Ward, and his answer should put past and future ballot-tweeters at ease. The executive committee of New York State's board of elections met today, discussed the question, and decided unanimously that it was a non-issue. Here's what Ward had to say:

Apparently this is going on all across the country... All four of the commissioners had a meeting today. One of the issues they discussed was this inquiry and they all agreed that it's not a violation. What the law prohibits is from me showing you my ballot. It was meant to prevent my boss from walking in watching me while I fill out my ballot at the polling site. Their conclusion unanimously was that -- first of all it's an old section of the law -- but secondly, no one is being shown the ballot, they're being shown a copy of the ballot.

What they're basically telling us is, 'We're dealing with floods and hurricanes. Don't bother us with Twitter.' But they said unanimously that they determined that it was not a violation of the criminal part of the election law.


"You're free to send it out. If you think it's wise, that's ok," he continued. "You're free to send it out. No one's gonna get their undies in a knot over that."

--Colin Dabkowski

comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement

About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

rmccarthy@buffnews.com


Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

tprecious@buffnews.com


Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri | jterreri@buffnews.com


Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | jzremski@buffnews.com

Subscribe

Advertisement