Oregon Senate candidate tweets ballot and may have broken law

Dr. Monica Wehby is a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Oregon.  Oregon is a deep blue state, but recent polls show Dr. Wehby to be within striking distance of Senator Jeff Merkley (D).  Dr. Wehby, however, has made news lately for less than favorable reasons: she may have broken the law with a tweet.

The tweet, which is still available, showed a picture of Dr. Wehby’s ballot:

However, as noted by Buzzfeed, Oregon law says this: No person shall show the person’s own marked or punched ballot to another person to reveal how it was marked or punched.

There is enough ambiguity in the law that it likely will not be a problem for Dr. Wehby.  However, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and this was not an advisable tweet.  Certainly not a big deal, but not the best of ideas.  I actually remember this being an issue in the 2012 election on Facebook as well: plenty of people were uploading pictures of their completed ballots to Facebook (and tagging me in those pictures, as I was a candidate at the time) and a debate quickly began about whether or not those actions were legal.  The intent of laws like these were likely to prevent voter intimidation; personally, I can see no harm in someone voluntarily sharing this kind of information.

However, it does prove a point: be very careful with what you tweet.  If, for example, Dr. Wehby were to be investigated or prosecuted for this tweet (a highly doubtful scenario, for certain), it would be highly embarrassing for her or her campaign.  This could be an unforced error that would bring a good amount of negative press – the last thing any candidate wants.

Of course, the tweet is still up.  That tells me one of either two things: the campaign looked into the matter and found there to be no problem, or they are asleep at the switch.  I suspect the former.

Am I overreacting?  Let me know what you think in the comments!

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