The Vote Leave and Leave.EU campaigns are being looked at by the Electoral Commission for re-tweeting pictures of ballots posted to social media accounts, Political Scrapbook has learnt.
The Electoral Commission advises against selfies or pictures inside a polling booth, saying that potentially breaks the law.
Guidance issued in 2014 stated:
The law relating to obtaining information in polling stations and disclosing such information is complex. Given the risk that someone taking a photo inside a polling station may be in breach of the law, whether intentionally or not, our advice is that you should not allow photos to be taken inside polling stations.
However, that hasn’t stopped social media users from posting pictures of their ballot from inside the booth, to register their opinion on the matter.
Under Section 66 of the Representation of the People’s Act it is a criminal offence to communicate information about the way someone has voted or is about to vote – or to communicate the unique identification number on the ballot paper.
In 2014, the Telegraph reported:
Voters who tweet photos of themselves and their ballot papers could face a £5,000 fine or six months in prison for breaching secrecy laws, the Electoral Commission has warned.
The police are very unlikely to take action against individuals for posting pictures.
Political Scrapbook understands that both groups have been reported to the Electoral Commission for sharing such pictures.
We contacted the Electoral Commission for comment, who told over the phone it was “problematic” if someone was “collating” such pictures.
In an official statement sent by email, a spokeswoman said:
[Such activity] is a potential breach of the Representation of the People Act and it would be up to the police to decide whether to investigate this matter.
We found several pictures that both accounts had retweeted in the last few hours… (names have been obscured).
We have asked both campaigns for a comment.
Update: Jack Montgomery, a spokesman from the Leave.EU campaign told us:
Sounds like the most miserable, killjoy story of all time. We think it’s great that people are expressing a bit of enthusiasm about exercising their democratic rights, after years of disillusionment, disengagement and falling turnout.