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BSR11242016

BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP NOVEMBER 25 - DECEMBER 1, 2016 13 VOTING BOOTH SELFIES: WOULD THIS BE SHARING YOUR VOTE? BK SNAP S AUTUMN ON STATE STREET. Photo by Stephanie Durso Send us your photos of Brooklyn and you could see them online or in our paper. Submit them to us via Instagram, Twitter and Facebook by using the hashtag #HRPix; or email them to [email protected] GUEST OPED Did you vote on November 8 and consider taking a “selfi e” photo at the polls to show friends how you voted? Did you know it is illegal in New York to take a voting booth “selfi e?” The fi ght for the right to take a picture of your completed ballot in the voting booth should not be a fi ght; it should be a celebration of democracy. I might have wanted to send my grandkids a photo of me voting and say, “Look, kids, Grandpa voted today and I want you to do the same thing when you get older.” What better advertisement for democracy and civic duty can there be? The ballot selfi e is an open window through which we cast our vote publicly and it should be protected like all other fi rst amendment rights we exercise in America. While a federal judge refused to li the law for this year’s election because of timing, he said he would let the case move forward next year to look into the issue some more. The state legislature can enact a law to make this legal before the court acts. As your assemblymember, I have an obligation to fi ght for your ability to exercise your fi rst amendment rights of freedom of speech. But in New York, it is still a criminal offense to show a marked election ballot to others. It is illegal in our state, but as many as 20 other states have made it legal. It is a controversy that has been discussed in the press and in the courts at length this past election cycle. I do not agree that showing who you voted for will contribute to greater voter fraud. The argument that it encourages or makes easier the conirmation that a person voted a certain way for personal or inancial gain attempts to place that risk above the right to free speech. A few people will always oppose almost any kind of innovation. Let’s not let a few people opposed to opening up democracy keep us from encouraging more people to vote. I take the responsibility and privilege to vote very seriously and think we should be spending more time encouraging and promoting people to vote. In Albany, I sponsor and support many bills to expand our e orts to make registering and voting early easier in our state. The ballot “selfi e” has been e ective in encouraging young people to exercise their right to vote. Taking a picture of themselves and sharing it on social media with their friends is the best kind of peer pressure I can think of. They can boast, and better yet prove, that they had a hand in choosing their representatives in government. Now that’s an outcome everyone could be proud of. In a world where many stay home instead of getting involved, sharing “selfi es” on social media would help encourage others to vote Changing the law against “selfi es” will be on our agenda next year when the legislature reconvenes. It’s about time. Felix Ortiz represents the 51st A.D. THE HOT TOPIC BY ASSEMBLYMEMBER FELIX ORTIZ FOR MORE NEWS, VISIT WWW.BROOKLYNREPORTER.COM STORY: All of the lights: Dyker gearing up for 2016 holiday season SUMMARY: To get our readers into the holiday spirit, we posted a story – chock full of photos from years past – on Wednesday, November 16, dedicated to the yearly tradition that quite literally lights up Dyker Heights. The decorative, dazzling and sometimes over-the-top lights draw visitors from neighboring communities along with travelers from other states and even countries, some years as early as Thanksgiving weekend. REACH: 5,766 people (as of 11/21/16)


BSR11242016
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