18 states ban ballot selfies, and the reason actually makes some sense.

Here are some quick tips for sharing your vote with the world around you.

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.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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