Eric Trump illegally posts a picture of his marked ballot
New York, Nov 9 (IANS) Son of US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Eric Trump, posted a photo of his marked ballot on Twitter — which is illegal to do in New York.
“It is in an incredible honor to vote for my father! He will do such a great job for the U.S.A.!#MakeAmericaGreatAgain,” New York Daily News quoted the proud Trump scion as saying in a tweet shortly after 7 a.m., with a picture of a ballot that had been filled out with his father’s name.
But a Manhattan federal court judge ruled just last week that a 100-plus-year-old state law barring people from showing their completed ballots applies to people sharing pictures of them on social media.
“I’m glad to see Eric Trump engaged in our valued tradition of civil disobedience by showing his ballot on the internet. However, according to the federal court what he did was illegal and he could face up to one year in jail,” said lawyer Leo Glickman, who represented voters challenging the law in a federal suit.
The lawyer added that while researching the law for the suit, he had not found any prosecutions against violators “in decades”.
The picture Eric tweeted does not show him in it so he might not have taken the picture himself, but another tweet sent soon after shows him and his wife outside of their East Side polling site. The ballot tweet was also removed after the Daily News inquired about the possible legal violation.
In his November 3 ruling, Judge Kevin Castel said it would be too chaotic to change the law for the 2016 election.
“A last-minute, judicially-imposed change in the protocol at 5,300 polling places would be a recipe for delays and a disorderly election, as well intentioned voters either took the perfectly posed selfie or struggled with their rarely used smartphone camera,” Castel said in his 16-page decision.
He said he also wasn’t sure the 126-year-old law should be changed.
While selfies can be “a potent form of speech presumptively entitled to First Amendment protection”, keeping ballots secret help protect against voter intimidation and bribery, he noted.