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

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.

True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

Public Domain

A very simple thing happened earlier this week. Dr. Seuss Enterprises—the company that runs the Dr. Seuss estate and holds the legal rights to his works—announced it will no longer publish six Dr. Seuss children's books because they contain depictions of people that are "hurtful and wrong" (their words). The titles that will no longer be published are And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot's Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat's Quizzer.

This simple action prompted a great deal of debate, along with a great deal of disinformation, as people reacted to the story. (Or in many cases, just the headline. It's a thing.)

My article about the announcement (which contains examples of the problematic content that prompted the announcement) led to nearly 3,000 comments on Upworthy's Facebook page. Since many similar comments were made repeatedly, I wanted to address the most common sentiments and questions:

How do we learn from history if we keep erasing it?

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True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

So why does the guy who sits next to you put his phone, his book, his charger, his lunch, and his laptop in the space that's rightfully yours? It's annoying!

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When an earthquake and subsequent tsunami caused a nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, in 2011 most people who lived in the area fled. Some left without their pets, who then had to fend for themselves in a radioactive nuclear zone.

Sakae Kato stayed behind to rescue the cats abandoned by his neighbors and has spent the last decade taking care of them. He has converted his home, which is in a contaminated quarantine area, to a shelter for 41 cats, whom he refers to as "kids." He has buried 23 other cats in his garden over the past 10 years.

The government has asked the 57-year-old to evacuate the area many times, but he says he figured he was going to die anyway. "And if I had to die, I decided that I would like to die with these guys," he said.

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