Justin Timberlake Takes An Illegal Voting Selfie, But He's Probably Doing More Good Than Harm — UPDATE
We are now in the home stretch leading up to Election Day, and some Americans are already casting their early ballots — meaning some celebrities are overeager and showing off their civic duty to the general public. As Us Weekly reports, Justin Timberlake took a selfie while voting in Memphis, Tennessee, but there is one issue here: Taking a photo of your ballot is technically illegal in Tennessee. Whoops! Although Timberlake's selfie is against the law in his home state, he was probably just focused on spreading awareness about Election Day to his millions of followers. Bustle has reached out to Timberlake's legal rep for comment, but has not yet received a response.
Update: Shelby County district attorney general Amy Weirich tweeted that Timberlake is not being investigated. She wrote, "The statement released earlier today regarding Justin Timberlake and an investigation was incorrect and was released without my knowledge. No one in our office is currently investigating this matter nor will we be using our limited resources to do so."
Earlier: That doesn't mean he's necessarily going to get off scot-free for his selfie though. The Shelby County District Attorney's Office communications director told Us Weekly that they've been "made aware of a possible violation of election law. The matter is under review by the D.A.'s office." Us reports that "violators can face a 30-day jail sentence and a fine not to exceed $50 for taking photos at polling stations in Tennessee."
I love that Timberlake was so excited to share his voting photo on social media that it slipped by him that a voting selfie is illegal in many states (but not all), so I am inclined to give him a break on this one. I choose to give him an "A" for effort as his caption underneath his photo proves that he had every good intention with his early voting selfie, simply wanting to encourage his fans and followers to vote.
And I don't blame him for not knowing this quite obscure law, especially because it varies across states. ABC News gathered a comprehensive list where ballot selfies are allowed or prohibited, and all the exceptions in between. Unfortunately for JT, Tennessee's law is: "Voters are not allowed to take photos or videos while in polling places. They're only allowed to use electronic devices for informational purposes to assist during voting." Maybe he can say he needed his fans' support to help him finish his vote?
In regards to enforcing ballot selfie laws, UPI noted, "The rules against voting selfies are almost impossible to enforce. The likelihood a poll worker would call the police for someone photographing themselves is nil." Some states, such as New Jersey, have even recently been trying to allow ballot selfies as a means of "increasing transparency and general awareness about Election Day and early voting." The problem with Timberlake is, of course, that he's a celebrity and shared the photo on his public social media page, which garnered attention.
Timberlake was probably just trying to get the word out about voting, but just in case, keep your voting selfies to yourself this Election Day.