Sorry Floridians: No "ballot selfies" allowed

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Taking pictures and sharing them is easier than ever thanks to high quality cameras in our phones. But this November, there's one place you may not want to take a picture. A Florida polling station.

Voting for the first time is memorable.

"Yes I think it's a big deal to vote for the first time," said Rachel Johnston, a senior at Mosley. "I think it's something that should be documented."

But if you like to take selfies, be careful: taking a picture while still in a polling location is illegal in most states, including Florida. Local Attorney Waylon Graham tells us why.

"Because there is a strong feeling or sense that that could jeopardize the integrity of the voting process."

Twenty-six states in the U.S. explicitly ban taking "ballot selfies" in their laws. In Florida you only have to look to Florida Statute 102.031 (5) which states very clearly, "No photography is permitted in the polling room or early voting area."

Bay County Supervisor of Elections Mark Andersen takes violating this law very seriously.

"The biggest issue is once you've compromised someone's secrecy, my face with that ballot, you can never take that back," Andersen said.

The issue of "ballot selfies" began in the Northeast. This week the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston is considering if banning ballot selfies violates the First Amendment. This is the first time a federal appeals court has dealt with this issue.

In Florida, at least for now, voter privacy in the polling room outweighs the First Amendment. But what if someone snapped a picture anyway?

"I suspect the way it would go is they would politely ask you to stop and if you refused to do so, you could actually be arrested and carted off to jail," said Graham.

So what does the next generation of voters think? We went to a senior AP Government class at Mosley High School to find out.

"I agree with Florida wanting to make it illegal and we should preserve voting as a sacred thing," said senior and first time voter Camryn May.

Her classmate, Shane Feroy agreed.

"I don't think it's worth the risk," said Feroy. "I would like to keep it private."

But across the aisle, David Chandler had a different perspective.

"It seems pretty short sighted. The cons of it don't seem like they're very prevalent or as prevalent of an issue as people try to make them out to be," stated Chandler. "And the pros of legalizing is we would get more millennials interested in voting which is a great thing."

Once you're outside of a polling location, officials say feel free to snap away and encourage others to get out and vote.