Thursday 20 January 2022

Court asked to rule on legality of polling station ‘selfies’

A Dutch citizens’ rights organisation has gone to court to find out if it is legal in the Netherlands to take a self portrait photograph in a voting booth, Nos television says on Thursday.


The craze for taking ‘stemfies’ (vote selfies) took hold at the local elections last month and was actively encouraged by several politicians. Home affairs minister Ronald Plasterk said he saw ‘no problem’ with the photography.

However, the PBB points out that in many countries it is illegal to take pictures in polling stations.


‘In Italy, for example, it is illegal because the mafia was forcing people to take pictures of their votes,’ the organisation’s lawyer Douwe Linders is quoted as saying during Thursday’s court hearing.

The organisation wants Plasterk to take back his comments. However, the government’s lawyer said Dutch voting law does not ban people from taking selfies of their vote. ‘The decision to make and circulate these photographs is up to the voter,’ the lawyer said.

People who feel they are being forced to prove who they voted for can always ask for a second ballot paper or spoil their ballot paper, the lawyer is quoted as saying by the Nos.

The court will rule on the legality of polling booth selfies on May 9. The European parliamentary elections take place on May 22.

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