[Updated] GE15: Can You Post Your Votes On Social Media?
You can’t take a picture of your ballot paper, but you can flex your inked index finger on social media.
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This article was updated on 10 November to reflect a new ruling regarding mobile phones.
The question may be simple and plain but for us Gen Z, it’s actually crucial. Heavy use of social media among the younger generation has made it an integral part of our lives.
Posting about the election is kinda important too as 21.1 million (that’s quite a lot) Malaysians are eligible to vote this year and this is a 5-year event after all. The ink mark on our finger has to make it on our social media for that #donecontribute or #doneundi post. 👀
That ink mark is a different story, but what about our ballot paper?
The small paper that we’ll use to mark the leader that we think is worthy? Can we post our decision on social media too?
So the short answer is no
As reported by The New Straits Times back in 2018 (the last time we had our big election), previous Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah said that registered voters, especially postal voters (they get to vote early by post) are warned not to take pictures of their ballot papers, forms or other documents related to the 14th General Election (GE14) and share them on social media.
This prohibition safeguards the public interest and applies to all voters.Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah, previous Election Commission (EC) Chairman
He further stated that this was to ensure transparency and protect the secrecy of the vote. Under Section 3 of the Election Offences Act 1954 (Act 5), the offender shall be liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to a fine, not more than RM5,000, or both.
Furthermore, taking a picture of your ballot is similar to taking the ballot paper outside the election hall and that person could be charged under election law, according to the Borneo Post.
Phones are now prohibited during the ballot casting
Although the rules state so, some people allegedly still have ways to take a picture of the ballot papers. So what if you took a picture of those? What’s the big deal?
Well, for starters, it could lead to bribery.
As explained by our former two-time prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the voters could use their phones to show that they had cast a vote for a certain party in return for money from the said party.
According to Malaymail, the Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA) chairman expressed some worries over the flaws that the EC currently has. He asked if the EC could ban the practice of bringing along a mobile phone for voters while in the voting room.
It could threaten voter secrecy, which in turn could lead to information being used for bribes. He also stated that there were many other weaknesses in the system – which he did not name – and those flaws should be addressed by the EC before the upcoming 15th general election.
As a new ruling has been made on 9 November 2022 by the EC, phones are now prohibited during ballot casting. You now have to leave your phones at the head of the polling station’s (KTM) table before directly proceeding to cast your vote.
READ MORE: GE15: No Mobile Phones Inside Polling Station
So basically, you can take pics to prove that you’ve voted (the finger ink) after voting but you cannot take a picture of your ballot paper as your phones will be confiscated.
Vote responsibly guys.
READ MORE: GE15: Is There Really A Dress Code For Voters?
READ MORE: Democracy For Dummies: Vote Like A Pro During GE15
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