Harvard Law Review Covers New Hampshire Ballot Selfie Case, Rideout v. Gardner

Very nice treatment of the case:

 Vote buying, a practice carried over from England’s early experiments with democracy, was widespread in United States elections until the modern era.. A 1905 study of a New York City election, for example, found that 170,000 people sold their votes at a going rate of five dollars.2 Around this time, states began to introduce the secret ballot and enact other laws intended to prevent voter corruption and intimidation. Since then, the outright buying of votes has receded as a significant issue though occasional prosecutions continue and many Progressive era statutes remain in force. Recently, in Rideout v. Gardner, the First Circuit held that a New Hampshire law prohibiting voters from sharing photographs of marked ballots — which came to be known as a ban on “ballot selfies” — was unconstitutional under the First Amendment. Despite the possibility that legislatures may be better suited than courts to determine if election regulations are needed, the court found New Hampshire’s stated justification — to prevent vote buying and coercion — insufficiently strong. The Rideout court’s approach shows how First Amendment free speech doctrine fails to consider the institutional competence of legislatures when it comes to regulating elections.


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