General Election 2015: Polling booth selfies could lead to jail time
May 6, 2015
Before you upload that #electionselfie to Instagram and prepare to hoover up all those likes, be aware that it could cost end up costing you dearly.
Under section 66 of the Representation of the People Act 1983, it is illegal to ‘communicate at any time to any person any information obtained in a polling station as to the candidate for whom a voter in that station is about to vote or has voted’.
It is also illegal to communicate the unique reference number of a ballot paper.
This means that while the act of taking a photo is not technically against the law, if you upload your voting selfie to social media and it ends up infracting any of these rules (even if you didn’t intend it to) you could incur a penalty of up to £5,000, or even face jail time.
The Electoral Commission first warned of the danger of selfies in the polling booth in a letter issued to returning officers before the European and council elections last year.
It said to the BBC: ‘Due to the potential breach of the law, intentionally or not, we strongly advise against any form of photography taken inside a polling station.
‘However, if a voter would like to highlight their participation in the elections, we suggest this is done outside the polling station before or after they vote.’