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Social Media and Voting: Update on ‘Ballot Selfie’ Laws

Ah, the selfie. That staple of social media. Who needs a silly little "I Voted" sticker when you can share your voting status worldwide with a few taps on your smartphone? The ballot selfie has become the most popular way to prove you participated in the political process, but some states aren't too keen on the idea. Quite a few states have banned ballot selfies, and a few state courts have overturned bans. So where does the law stand now? Here's a look. In and Out Whether you can snap a selfie at your polling place can depend on where you live. Some states explicitly bar ballot selfies, some states allow them, and quite a few states have yet to clarify matters, legally. The AP published a comprehensive list of state ballot selfie laws, and here's a quick summary: Legal: Connecticut, D.C., Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming. Not Legal: Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Some of these bans are prohibitions on taking photographs of ballots specifically; others are laws against taking any pictures at polling places. And keep in mind that even in states where ballot selfies are legal, there may be limits on where you can snap your selfie and what can be included. Up in the Air There are still 13 states that have yet to decide the issue of ballot selfies definitively. Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Iowa, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia either don't address ballot selfies explicitly, have proposals pending, or have laws on the books that state officials have said may not prohibit ballot selfies. So before you start snapping photos of you and your ballot and post them to social media, you may want to consult with a local civil rights attorney to confirm the ballot selfie laws in your jurisdiction. Related Resources: Find Civil Rights Lawyers Near You (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory) New Hampshire Strikes Down Ban on 'Ballot Selfies' (FindLaw's Legally Weird) Snapchat Stands up for Right to Snap Ballot Selfies (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Rules Around Polling Places (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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Can Parents Re-Home an Adopted Child?

Raising kids is hard. Anybody who becomes a parent thinking that it will be easy, probably shouldn't be allowed to be a parent in the first place. Raising an adopted child can be especially challenging. Often, these children have been abused and traumatized before they are adopted. Many have psychological issues that require extra resources and care. However, many adopted parents excitedly bring home a child from Africa or Asia thinking that they'll just live happily ever after. /p>When things get rough, and the children act up, some parents are quick to dump the adopted kids on another family through a process called re-homing. Is re-homing legal? Technically, Re-Homing Is Legal In most states, re-homing is legal and easy. Adoptive parents can easily rid themselves of a burden by simply signing a power of attorney. With a quick signature, the adopted children are put into the custody of random people who have not gone through a background check or home study. This is why re-homing can be a recipe for disaster. The Case of Arkansas State Representative Justin Harris The dangers of re-homing are epitomized in the case of Arkansas State Representative Justin Harris and his wife. In March 2013, the Harrises adopted two young girls, ages 5 and 3, through the Arkansas Department of Human Services. Only six months after the adoption, the Harrises sent the girls to live with Eric Francis, a "trusted friend," and his wife. This "trusted friend" worked for the Harrises for only three months, from November 2013 to January 2014, when he was fired for poor attendance. This "trusted friend" ended up raping one of the girls. He was convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Re-Homing Is Banned in Several States In response to this horrific story, Arkansas recently passed a law that forbids parents from re-homing their children with another household, except for close relatives, without court approval. Violation of the law is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $5,000. Currently, Colorado, Florida, Wisconsin, and Louisiana also have similar laws banning re-homing. Ohio is also considering legislation that would require court approval before parents can re-home their adopted children. If you've adopted a child and cannot handle the responsibility, consult with an experienced family law attorney before you take a drastic step such as re-homing. Related Resources: Browse Family Law Lawyers by Location (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory) The Adoption Option: Should You Adopt? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) 7 Types of Adoption: What You Need to Know (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Can I Reverse an Adoption? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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