Election day is (finally) over, but we noticed a few interesting stories and issues on Tuesday worthy comment and reflection. That’s right: we are not ready to end the madness. We promise we won’t make you watch another television ad, however.
The Intersection of Technology and Voting
We all heard stories post-Sandy of how the election might be affected by East Coast power outages and transportation difficulties. The affected states tried to prepare for those contingencies. But what if you weren’t expecting it? A college professor of mine posted on a certain social networking site that when he was checking in at his polling place, the laptop used by the volunteer crashed. After rebooting, it would not print him out a ticket to vote, because the computer thought he had already voted (because he had already been checked in right before the crash). Eventually, my former professor was allowed to vote, but the event raised an interesting issue about the intersection of technology/products and election law. We are now extremely dependent on technology to exercise one of our fundamental rights as Americans. I wonder what my professor’s remedy would have been if the computer – and not any mistake he made about a polling location, etc. – was responsible for him not being able to vote. A products case, perhaps?
On cell phone cameras and ballots
The Wall Street Journal Law Blog had an interesting post about posting pictures of your ballot. I saw several photos yesterday and also wondered about this issue. As I suspected, it is illegal in many states to photograph one’s ballot. Why? Why is it illegal to take, let alone post, pictures of completed ballots? Under Wisconsin law, it constitutes election fraud, a Class I felony.
We’d love to hear some arguments against – and for – these laws.
Inauguration day considerations
Finally, The WSJ Blog also featured a very interesting post on the effect of Inauguration Day, January 20, falling on a Sunday. I assumed (wrongly) that the Inauguration would simply take place on the following Monday. Well, apparently not. The successful candidate will simply take the oath of office privately on Sunday, and then in the public eye on Monday. This will not, of course, be the first time that a president elect will take the oath more than once. Recall that Justice Roberts mixed up some of the wording with President Obama during his 2009 Inauguration, and they had to re-do it behind the scenes again later - just to ensure the president had taken the actual oath.