Absentee voting for the presidential elections has begun, but many Icelanders are breaking voting laws on Facebook and Twitter by posting photos of their ballots.
Vísir reports that about 5,000 Icelanders have submitted absentee ballots for the presidential elections to the Reykjavík area county seat. Turnout is reportedly very good this year, which may in part be due to there being no incumbent running.
However, many Icelanders have taken photos of their ballots while within the voting booth, and then posted these ballots to social media – a practice the county seat frowns upon.
“This is in itself a punishable offense,” county seat official Erla S. Árnadóttir told reporters. “You can be fined for showing who you voted for. It is possible to file charges with the police over this.”
Even so, Erla says she knows of no instances of anyone being charged over posting their ballot on Facebook or Twitter. For the most part, she blames smartphones.
“One year, we tried making people leave their phones with us [before going into the voting booth],” she said. “But we found it a bit too strict to take people’s phones away, and we trust them to turn their phones off, as we request.”
Erla adds that she does not believe posting completed ballots on social media has any effect on election outcomes. Nonetheless, she advises people not take any chances, and keep their ballots to themselves.