Voters could be jailed or fined £5,000 for taking a 'boothie'

Two voters take a selfie outside a polling station
Two voters take a selfie outside a polling station
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Selfie-loving Sheffield folk could be jailed for up to six months or fined £5,000 for taking a snap in the polling booths today.

Since 7am this morning people have been heading to polling stations to cast their vote in the local and mayoral elections.

Voters will be electing councillors to represent them and, for the first time, a Sheffield City Region Mayor.

Many will Tweet, post and Snapchat to encourage others to exercise their right to vote. But, the Electoral Commission has warned against taking 'boothies'.

In the election guidelines, they state the law around disclosing information from polling booths is complex and added: “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 against taking any photos inside polling stations.”

During last year’s elections, the Electoral Commission tweeted and said while pictures taken outside polling stations are great to use on social media, “polling booths are a selfie-free zone”.

They also said staff managing the booths have been trained to spot selfies and take action if they see someone taking a snap.

Students in Sheffield took their chances one year when some tweeted selfies from inside polling stations with the popular hashtag #sheffieldstudentsvote.

In Preston, Lancashire, in 2016 the council put up selfie stickers and zones to encourage people to take selfies outside stations and avoid breaking the law.

The rules are similar in America where Justin Timberlake was once nearly jailed for posting a selfie from a Tennessee polling booth to millions of fans.

Some campaigners have called for a change in the law saying 'boothies' encourage more young people to vote such as in the Netherlands where the practise has become part of the occasion.

Taking a selfie in a polling booth could break UK law under Section 66 of the Representation of the People Act 1983.

Polling stations will close at 10pm tonight, read more on how and where here.