Justin Timberlake has fulfilled his civic duty. He already voted two weeks before Election Day. He was proud of what he had done, and he wanted to show proof to others. After voting, the singer took a selfie with his ballot. This act is unlawful in most states, including Tennessee where Timberlake took his selfie on Monday, October 24. 

Around 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, the Shelby County District Attorney's Office was made aware of the photo, and Timberlake could have faced 30 days in jail and fined up to $50. It is unlawful for someone to take a photo in the voting booth and to show markings on the ballot. Four hours later, the 35-year old was considered to be in the clear because no one filed a formal complaint even though the district attorney knew about it. 

Justin Timberlake broke the law

Justin Timberlake had good intentions and must not have known that ballot selfies are prohibited in his home state of Tennessee.

The singer posted the photo on Instagram. It was his way of encouraging others to go out and vote. He indicated that he had flown from Los Angeles to Memphis to "rock the vote." Timberlake meant well, but it's illegal to take a photo while in the voting booth in Tennessee and in some other states. He has since deleted the photo.

Teachable moment

A conversation has started because of Timberlake's selfie. His mistake is teaching others and making them aware of the law to keep them from making the same mistake. While Timberlake was not charged, others might be charged if they do the same thing. Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed a statewide bill in May 2015 that voters should not take pictures or videos while in the "polling place." In some states, you can take a selfie outside the "voting booth" but not inside the voting booth. 

Check your state law

Before you are tempted to take a photo while you vote, check the laws in your own state since the laws vary.

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For instance, it is not illegal to take pictures in Hawaii, Louisiana, and Virginia. However, you could go to jail and fined if you take a photo in a voting booth in Alaska, Florida, and New York.  If you vote in Texas, you cannot take a photo of any kind within 100 feet of the polling place. Maryland residents are allowed to take pictures within the polling place, but not of the ballots. To be on the safe side, check your own state laws before going to your voting poll for Election 2016