Cell-free zone: Put away your phone while you're voting

No cell phones at polling places

On Monday, thousands of people will be heading to the polls for the first day of early voting in San Antonio, and many are likely to have their phones in hand while casting their ballots.

What many people don't know is that cell phone use is banned while voting.

Many people are hooked on social media: Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter. Today, Bexar County Elections Administrator Jackie Callanen says elections workers will be monitoring polling locations to make sure no one is using their phone while voting.

Any kind of phone use, or other recording device use, is banned by the state. That means no phone calls, texting, picture taking, snaping, Facebooking, Tweeting, Instagraming, Periscoping, or swiping left or right.

“The whole idea of electronics (banned) is to protect the privacy of voters, not just you but anyone who may be next to you or in line,” Callanen said.

Young voters, many who spend hours on social media, had mixed feelings about the ban.

“I would agree with that,” said Sage Royston who will vote for the second time in his life in this election. “It's smart to not let any information get out about votes.”

Others feel allowing social media use at the polls could increase voter turnout.

“I think it should be gotten rid of because it would seem to motivate the younger generation that is always snapping and connecting with other through social media,” said Jason Vasquez.

Callanen believes the law will eventually change, but at least for this election, it’s in effect.  The phone ban applies inside the polling location and 100 feet outside the poll location.

If you are caught using your phone inside, you will be allowed to cast your ballot and escorted out by security.

(© 2016 KENS)


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