How a Ballot Box Selfie Could Land You in Jail

By Nick Cowen on at

Ahead of today's general election, we at Gizmodo would like to make a public service announcement: if you're tempted to take a selfie while you're in a polling booth, don't. It could land you in jail. Seriously.

Well, technically, you're only in trouble if you share your polling booth selfie on a social network. You can snap a picture of your ballot paper while you're in a polling booth with no penalties attached. But if you decide to upload your ballot to Facebook, Twitter or any other social network, you could face up to six months in jail or a £5,000 fine.

The reason for this is that the Representation of the People Act makes it illegal to communicate "information obtained in a polling station", which includes your voting choices on your ballot paper as well as the ballot's serial number.

According to the Evening Standard, The Electoral Commission warned voters about this hazard last year, saying that "the law relating to obtaining information in polling stations and disclosing such information is complex.

"Given the risk that someone taking a photo inside a polling station may be in breach of the law, whether intentionally or not, our advice is that you should not allow photos to be taken inside polling stations."

So when you cast your ballot today, remember, the world doesn't need to know how you voted. And if you decide to tell them, make sure you're loaded. Or tough enough to survive porridge.