RIDEOUT v. GARDNER | No. 15-2021 | First Circuit | April 22, 2016
The Cyberlaw Clinic filed an amicus brief (pdf) on behalf of the New England First Amendment Coalition and The Keene Sentinel in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, in this case addressing the constitutionality of New Hampshire’s so-called “ballot selfie” law. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 659:35 prohibits “taking a digital image or photograph of [one’s] marked ballot and distributing or sharing the image via social media.” Arguing that the statute is unconstitutional under the First Amendment, the brief notes that it prohibits many types of speech that play important roles in elections, and democracy more generally. The brief highlights specific examples of times when photographs of ballots helped the public clear up misunderstandings about government conduct, demonstrated how to ensure that one’s vote would be counted, and conveyed messages about civic participation and advocacy for a candidate that could not expressed with words alone. Spring 2016 Cyberlaw Clinic students Michael Linhorst and Jacqueline Wolpoe took the lead on this brief, working closely with Managing Director Chris Bavitz and Clinical Fellow Andy Sellars.