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Think of taking an Election Day selfie alongside your ballot? Think again.

Depending on the state you live in, you might be breaking a law (even if you're Justin Timberlake, who found himself "under review" for a ballot selfie, which he has since deleted, earlier this week).

Earlier this week, the Associated Press published a guide to laws involving ballot selfies, which vary from state to state. In 19 states (plus the District of Columbia), you're clear to bust out your camera and snap yourself excitedly taking part in the democratic process.


But in 18 states, it's best to leave your phone in your pocket while at the polls. In the 13 remaining states, ballot selfie laws are a bit unclear.

To be sure, posting a photo of your filled-out ballot is unlikely to get you tossed in prison. Still, it's best to make sure you're following the rules, even if they don't always make a lot of sense.

Over the past several years, social media has become a central part of our lives, and the issue of "ballot selfies" has become a hot topic. There are two sides to this argument, and they both actually make a lot of sense.

On one hand, just 57.5% of eligible voters cast ballots in the 2012 presidential election, and ballot selfies might encourage people to get out and vote. If the ability to post a picture of your completed ballot to social media makes you more likely to vote (and if seeing the ballots of others is more likely to nudge you into participating), then sure, there's a huge case to be made for legalizing ballot selfies nationwide. Anything we can do to help encourage people to head to the polls on Election Day should be done — especially if it's something this easy.

On the other hand, the reasons these laws exist in many states have nothing to do with our current age of social media — instead they're related to concerns about vote buying. Vote buying is exactly what it sounds like: paying people to use their vote to cast a ballot in a certain way. How do cameras factor in? Typically, people being paid in vote buying schemes would be required to show proof that they voted in accordance with their agreement; one way to do this was to snap a picture in the booth. Knowing this, banning ballot photos makes perfect sense.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Newsmakers.

Courts are currently wrestling with the issue. A federal appeals court recently overturned New Hampshire's ban on ballot photos on First Amendment grounds. It should be interesting to see what effect that might have on other states.

Luckily, there are other ways you can use social media to share your voting experience.

Hashtags are a great way to let people know you voted. Whether you're team #ImWithHer, riding the #TrumpTrain, or you just want to let people know #IVoted, there's a hashtag for you!

From Sept. 23 to 26, Facebook posted reminders to users urging them to register to vote. Users were directed to vote.usa.gov at the click of a "Register Now" button. And it looks like it worked: Facebook's call sparked a pretty sizable boost in several states' enrollment. Selfie or not, you can share a status letting friends know you're registered and ready to vote!

Even if you can't get your ballot into the picture, there are plenty of other ways to show your excitement for voting in photographs! Did you get one of those "I Voted" stickers? Take a picture and share it with the world! Meeting up with your friends before casting your ballot? Take a group photo as you pile into your ride. Live in a state that bans photography within 100 feet of polling locations (what's up with that, Texas?)? Stand 101 feet away and snap your selfie. There are bound to be some good Election Day Snapchat filters you can use. There are dozens of really creative ways you can let the world know you're voting!

But the most important thing you can do before heading to your polling place is to prepare. (I know, I know — this isn't the most exciting thing in the world, but it really is important.)

Depending on where you live, you'll be voting for far more than just a president this November. Members of Congress, local officials, mayors, governors, referendums, ordinances, and amendments to your state constitution may also be up for votes.

That's why it's important to come prepared to the polling place, and that means getting a feel for what your ballot will look like. Luckily, again, the internet has you covered. If you search the words "sample ballot" on Google, you'll be shown a box where you can type in your address to see what's up for a vote in your area. Additionally, it gives you the option of learning more about the positions of candidates and more.

Whether or not you snap a ballot selfie (provided that it's legal where you're at), hopefully you'll vote. The democratic process is best when we all participate.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


Addie Rodriguez was supposed to take the field with her dad during a high school football game, where he, along with other dads, would lift her onto his shoulders for a routine. But Addie's dad was halfway across the country, unable to make the event.

Her father is Abel Rodriguez, a veteran airman who, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family in San Antonio at the time.

"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

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Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75

Lynch is part of a growing line of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory

Upon first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
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