Want to document yourself exercising your right to vote in today's European elections? Bad news: staff at British polling stations have been told that they have to prevent people from taking selfies as they cast their ballot. Apparently, the UK Electoral Commission are concerned that selfies may invalidate the voting process by inadvertently revealing an individual's political allegiances.
Section 66 of the UK's Representation of the People Act declares that it is a criminal act to reveal how somebody has voted, and authorities are concerned that taking photos inside polling stations and uploading them to Facebook compromises the secrecy of the ballot without realising it. Anybody who reveals how somebody voted can face a maximum £5,000 fine and six months in prison.
"We have told staff that if they see anyone taking a photograph they should ask the person to delete it but not try to wrestle the phone out of their hands," an east London electoral services manager told the BBC. Good, because we imagine quite a few people would probably put up a fight.
"No photography" signs have been placed around stations and some staff have even received training in what a selfie is (COME ON, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?). Staff have been advised to prevent photography if they see it happening, ask the person to delete the image, but have been told not to engage in physical conflict.
We're imagining a farce worse than the UKIP carnival, where selfie–obsessed voters completely disrupt the elections by insisting on documenting the momentous occasion and end up locked in physical combat with staff who didn't know what a selfie was until yesterday.
Here's a link to some selfies in other completely inappropriate situations. These selfies aren't illegal, but maybe they should be.
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