CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Culture

Justin Timberlake in trouble for voting booth selfie?

Technically Incorrect: He went to his home of Tennessee to vote. He posted a selfie next to the voting machine. Now the local DA is reviewing that selfie, as taking photographs at the polling place is illegal in the state.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Will he suffer for his public-spiritedness? Or his, um, selfie-obsession?

screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

No one believes anything you do until they actually see you do it.

This means having to take a selfie of not merely every important moment in your life, but many of your everyday transactions.

Behold, then, the ever-modern, ever-enlightened Justin Timberlake.

The singer, actor, dancer and general mobile statue of cool -- why, he's even good at golf -- has got himself into a spot of bother.

He flew from California to his home state of Tennessee to cast his ballot for, no doubt, the candidate who's danced through the election campaign best.

In order to prove his civic-mindedness, Timberlake took a selfie at the polling place, right next to the fine, inscrutable Diebold voting machine and posted the results to Instagram and Facebook with the message: "Hey! You! Yeah, YOU! I just flew from LA to Memphis to #rockthevote !!! No excuses, my good people!"

There was more to the message than that. The gist, however, was clear. You are not cool if you don't vote.

As far as Tennessee is concerned, however, you are not cool if you take selfies while you're voting.

Tennessee governor Bill Haslam signed a law earlier this year allowing the use of cellphones and other devices at polling stations for "informational purposes to assist the voter in making election decisions."

The law, however, specifically prohibits "taking photographs or videos while inside the polling place."

You might -- and Timberlake's lawyers might join you -- argue that he was, indeed, informing his millions of fans about making election decisions.

The Shelby County District Attorney's Office didn't immediately respond to a request for clarification.

However, it did tell CNN that the selfie was "under review."

One can surely imagine these Tennessean district attorneys huddled around the selfie, muttering: "I'm not sure that's his best angle."

Might they really give him 30 days in jail or a $50 fine, as the law stipulates?

Or might they become wise and condemn him to traveling around the state for a whole week and posting 100 selfies a day to the Tennessee tourism website?

The full list of US state laws when it comes to polling place selfies has been displayed by my colleague Lynn La here.

The core here, of course, is to ask why you need to take a selfie at the polling station at all. You could, say, tell your tens, hundreds, or hundreds of millions of followers that you voted afterward. You could post a fine image of your "I Voted" sticker.

But oh, no. The so-called open, connected world demands something more instant.

Pointless, of course, but instant.