Senate votes to repeal voter ‘selfie’ ban violated by Justin Timberlake

State senators voted unanimously Thursday to repeal the law Justin Timberlake famously violated last year and allow “selfie” pictures to be taken at polling places.

Republican Sen. Brian Kelsey noted in brief remarks on the Senate floor that Timberlake made “national and international news” by taking a picture of himself while voting “in my hometown of Germantown” and posting it on the Internet.

The celebrity entertainer said later he did not realize he was violating a state law, which was passed in 2015 with Kelsey as Senate sponsor. He was not prosecuted.

(Previous post HERE.)

Kelsey didn’t mention his prior sponsorship in floor remarks. He did say the repeal bill  was drafted, then amended, with help from the state attorney general with a federal court decision striking down as unconstitutional a New Hampshire law that made it illegal to take photos while voting.

The bill (SB519, as amended) deletes entirely the 2015 law. While ending the general ban, the new proposed law would allow local election officials to prohibit certain practices by voters with cell phones – including talking within 10 feet of the voting booth, showing political materials or making “a photograph or video record a marked ballot in an effort to commit voter intimidation, voter fraud” or buy some else’s vote.

The measure is sponsored by Rep. Karen Camper, D-Memphis, in the House. It’s cleared a subcommittee there and is scheduled for a vote in the House Local Government Committee next week.

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