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Election 2015: Selfie (or boothie) at the polling booth? You could end up with a £5k fine or even six months in jail

The Electoral Commission has issued guidance advising people how to capture their voting experience without falling foul of the law

David Holmes
Labour leader Ed Miliband has a group selfie taken with this group of hens after his battle bus parked up in City Road outside Westminster Hotel where they were staying

You have exercised your democratic right, dragged yourself to a polling station and voted for your chosen candidate.

A reason to be proud of yourself indeed, and perhaps a moment to capture forever with an impromptu polling booth selfie - or boothie as they're known. Well, think again.

The Electoral Commission is warning voters that if they share an image of themselves in the voting booth they could be in breach of the law and risk a £5,000 fine or possibly even jail.

A photo of a ballot paper, taken in a polling station, would be information 'obtained in a polling station' and could breach election secrecy requirements under Section 66 of the Representation of the People Act 1983.

Chester hen party gets selfie with Ed Miliband

Pictures taken outside the polling station are fine to share on social media sites.

This may have been the 'selfie-election', with everyone from David Cameron to Joey Essex getting in on the act, but should voters themselves risking a picture in the polling booth could fall foul of the law.

Concerns over potential breaches of privacy emerged last year during the local and European elections and prompted the Electoral Commission to write to all returning officers, advise them that there should be no photography and warning them of the potential risks.

The commission guidance this year has advised that selfies outside the polling station are fine but says: "The law against releasing information obtained in a polling station is there to protect the integrity of the poll and the secrecy of the ballot.

"Remember that pictures of you before you go into or after you leave the polling station are great to use on social media posts.

"But don't take a picture of yourself inside the polling station as if you post this it could be a breach of the law."


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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