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Colorado residents file civil rights lawsuits to overturn ballot selfie law

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- Selfies have become so ingrained in society that pictures are snapped virtually anytime and anyplace.

But there’s one place lawmakers want to keep cameras away: Marked election ballots. It’s illegal in Colorado to post a selfie or video showing how you voted on your ballot.

But Coloradans have filed two civil rights lawsuits to try to overturn a law they say violates their freedom of speech.

Two state senators filed a lawsuit Monday against Colorado's Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

On Tuesday, two Denver residents and a member of the Libertarian party followed suit.

Each said that revealing who they voted for shouldn't result in the potential for serving a one-year jail sentence or paying a $1,000 fine.

"Political free speech is the most important of all speeches," Libertarian Party communications director for Colorado Caryn Ann Harlos said.

"It's blatantly unconstitutional," she said about Colorado Revised Statute 1-13-712 subsections 1 and 3.

She also can't show a video she made, not because it's vulgar or classified, but because it reveals her votes on her ballot.

"WikiLeaks would not be interested in it. I have not revealed any confidential information," she said.

So the Libertarian is fighting back with a civil rights lawsuit.

She said Colorado law not only forbids showing a ballot to anyone after voting, but you can't talk about who you voted for or say who you believe someone else voted for.

"We thought it was important to get both sections struck down because they’re both terrible and the Colorado Legislature should feel terrible for having it," she said.

She said her goal for the lawsuit is to fight for the freedom to post her video on social media -- an important tool for an alternative party.

"A lot of times people don't do something unless they see others doing it. So posting images is a very powerful way to tell people that it's OK to vote for different candidates other than the main two parties," Harlos said.

She believes it's a fight the Founding Fathers would be proud to support.

"If we don’t fight for our fundamental rights, they slowly get eroded away and that's how liberty dies. It dies a death of a thousand cuts," Harlos said.

Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey is also named in Tuesday's lawsuit.

Coffman's office said it doesn't comment on pending litigation.

Eighteen states ban ballot selfies or videos. But judges have struck down similar laws in New Hampshire and Indiana.