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California Ban On Ballot Selfies Stays On Books

Jeff Chiu / AP
 

Jeff Chiu / AP

(AP) - The Latest on challenges to state laws blocking ballot selfies (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

California voters who want to share photos of their marked ballots when they vote in the current election may be out of luck.

A federal judge in San Francisco refused Wednesday to block a state law that bans ballot selfies.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup said allowing the images so close to Election Day would create confusion among voters and poll workers.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued Monday, seeking a court injunction preventing enforcement of the ballot-selfie ban in the current election. The group said the law violates voters' free-speech rights by preventing them from expressing their political views.

Michael Risher, a senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Northern California, said he wasn't immediately sure whether he would appeal the ruling.

A federal judge in Colorado is hearing arguments in a similar case Wednesday.

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12:05 p.m.

Lawyers for Colorado are arguing there's no need to block a law that bans ballot selfies because it's not being enforced.

Colorado Assistant Attorney General Matthew Grove said in court Wednesday that there appears to be no basis for a legal challenge.

U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello says there may be valid constitutional problems over the right to free speech with how the statute is written.

Republican state Sen. Owen Hill of Colorado Springs says the law needs to be struck down if no one is being prosecuted for taking pictures with their own ballots.

It's not clear if a ruling will be issued before next week's election.

A federal judge in California also is hearing arguments Wednesday in a lawsuit challenging that state's ban on ballot selfies.

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2:05 a.m.

Colorado could become the latest state to allow ballot selfies.

A federal judge in Denver is scheduled to hear arguments Wednesday challenging Colorado's misdemeanor crime of disseminating a completed ballot. The law isn't enforced but technically bans excited voters from taking pictures with their own ballots.

Federal judges have struck down bans on selfies in at least two states, and rules have changed in others.

But in Colorado and many other states, taking a picture of your ballot still carries potential fines or jail time. Recently filed lawsuits also are challenging the bans in California and New York.

A Republican state senator and a Democratic student at the University of Denver are among the voters challenging Colorado's ban.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams says the ban is important and ballot privacy should be maintained.