Municipal elections and social media: the 2013 edition

Calgary's municipal election is on Monday, October 21, 2013.

Calgary’s municipal election is on Monday, October 21, 2013.

Calgary’s municipal election is just under a week away. It’s highly doubtful our mayor will lose his second bid for the post, along with the incumbent in the main ward affected by this summer’s flooding. But that’s not the issue. Apparently people who are taking advantage of the advance polls are taking photos of their marked ballots and posting them to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (read the Calgary Herald article).

There is nothing in our election laws that says this is illegal. It does say that someone running for councillor or mayor can’t produce a facsimile of a ballot, but nothing to say you can’t take a photo of your own marked ballot before dropping it in the box. Sure, who you vote for is supposed to be kept a secret, but in the current “share everything” world we live in, is this new practice really a surprise? And what’s the difference between posting a photo of your marked ballot or tweeting who you voted for without a photo? Couldn’t this new trend be considered the newest campaigning tool, especially if it was a really tight race in the last week before the actual election day?

It’s no longer really taboo to talk politics with your friends, family, co-workers or even complete strangers. People are not afraid to voice their opinions anymore, and posting a photo of your marked ballot to a social media site is just another way to tell the world what you are thinking and what you believe in. As long as you’re not taking a photo of someone else in a voting station, or someone else’s ballot, I don’t think this should be an issue.

Don’t forget to vote in the municipal election on Monday, October 21. And heck, share a photo of you’re marked ballot if you’re so inclined. I won’t judge.

 

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