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The real election-season problem America should worry about
In an election year, many Americans are concerned about who's voting for whom. Maybe the real voters they should be worried about are selfie-takers. - photo by Chandra Johnson
Love them or hate them, selfies have embedded themselves into American culture.

A 2014 survey by Harris Interactive and the Renfrew Foundation found that among adults who use social media, 85 percent posted a selfie of themselves online. Electronics manufacturer Samsung found through a 2013 survey that selfies accounted for about 30 percent of all photos taken by Americans ages 18-24.

Selfies have also given researchers and analysts pause over why the selfie is such a phenomenon. For one thing, the quest for the perfect selfie can encourage people to take dangerous risks, like the tourist who was gored to death in Spain while taking a selfie during the running of the bulls last year.

Selfies can also lead to major destruction, as many will remember when selfie-taking tourists in Costa Rica interrupted sensitive sea turtle breeding and nesting grounds, or the Argentina beachgoers who unwittingly killed a baby dolphin after plucking it from the ocean for group selfies.

Some researchers have also found that selfie-taking, especially in excess, may be linked to personality issues like narcissism and in some cases, psychopathy.

This being an especially interesting election year, many Americans are worried about who's voting for whom, but the New Hampshire Attorney General's office suggests that perhaps the votes Americans should be concerned about are those captured and shared in so-called "ballot selfies."

Reuters reported that New Hampshire Associate Attorney General Stephen LaBonte is spearheading a ban on selfies of completed ballots taken inside voting booths, arguing that the photos could be used as leverage to buy votes or influence other voters.

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardiner likewise argues ballot selfies violate the American ideal of voting in secret.

"If somebody wants to go out and say that they voted for this person or that person they can do it. They can do it, but that ballot is sacred," he told NPR.

Yet opponents to the ban, like Snapchat, say the ban is a violation of free expression. Executive Director of the New England First Amendment Coalition Justin Silverman argues that ballot selfies could keep the voting process transparent.

"Its about keeping the system honest, and documenting the election process and quickly identifying flaws that might be on the ballot and being able to share them quickly and easily with other voters, Silverman told The New York Times.
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