Are election selfies legal? And more ballot box quandaries

Do's and Don't of Election Day

Congratulations! You've nearly made it through one of the oddest, most frustrating election seasons in modern history – in THE swing state, no less.

How will you celebrate? Maybe with an #electionselfie or a picture with your infant "voting" for the first time. The Enquirer compiled some do's and don'ts on polling place etiquette so you can "Make Voting Great Again."

Can I take an #electionselfie in Ohio?

Legally, no. Practically, no one is going to stop you.

A long, long time ago in a land before Twitter and Facebook – and even MySpace – Ohio lawmakers outlawed taking pictures of completed ballots. The goal in 1997? Prevent employers or friends from intimidating voters by forcing them to show pictures of their cast ballots. The penalty was stiff: A fifth-degree felony punishable by up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine.

Now, the law seems archaic and perhaps even in violation of the First Amendment. A federal court in New Hampshire ruled a similar ballot picture prohibition violated voters' right to freedom of speech. Two Republican lawmakers in Ohio, Rep. Mike Duffey, of Worthington, and Rep. Niraj Antani, of Miamisburg, want to take Ohio's ban off the books.

And there are no records of Ohio police ever enforcing the prohibition on ballot pictures in the law's nearly 20-year history. Odds are that won't change this election if you want to feel like an election selfie outlaw.

Can I take a picture of my friend voting?

Yes. Candidates do it all the time. But you can't take a picture of their ballot. See also: ballot selfies.

Can I wear my "Make America Great Again" hat or "Stronger Together" T-shirt when I go to vote?

No. You can't campaign or influence someone's vote within 100 feet of a polling place. That means you can't wear hats, T-shirts, pins or any other paraphernalia that represents a candidate when you cast your ballot. Election officials might ask you to turn your shirt inside out or cover it with a jacket.

Just avoid the hassle and leave your "Make America Great Again" hat or "#OHHillYes" buttons at home.

Can I bring my kid to vote with me?

Yes. Your children can watch you cast a ballot in Ohio as long as they are younger than 18.

Can I concealed carry when I vote?

Maybe. Many polling locations are inside schools and government buildings, which prohibit concealed weapons. Ohio law has no ban on carrying a concealed handgun in a polling location, but it's best to check with your local election officials whether your polling location would allow a gun.

Can I vote for Mickey Mouse for president?

Yes, but your vote will not count. In Ohio, there are five presidential candidates on the ballot: Clinton, Trump, Libertarian Gov. Gary Johnson, Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein and Richard Duncan, who is an independent and only on Ohio's ballot. There are 18 approved write-in candidates, so your vote will count if you write in Joe "Exotic" Maldonado, who fought against the prohibition on new exotic animals as pets following the Zanesville fiasco.

A vote for anyone else – from Mickey Mouse to Sen. John McCain – will not be counted. (Sorry, Gov. John Kasich)

I think I made the wrong choice for president. Can I change my vote?

No. A few states allow voters to rescind their ballots, but Ohio is not one of them. Mailing in an absentee ballot then trying to renounce it on Election Day would only get you flagged for trying to vote twice, according to the Ohio Secretary of State's Office.

What should I do if I spot a problem on Election Day?

Tell poll workers at your polling location. Call the local board of elections. Hamilton County's number is 513-632-7000. The Ohio Secretary of State's Office will answer at 877-889-6446. Kentucky State Board of Elections can be reached at 502-573-7100.

When will this crazy, vitriolic election be over?

Not soon enough? Tuesday is Election Day. Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. You can still vote if you are in line when the polls close at 7:30 p.m.


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