Timberlake voting selfie removed from his social media

MEMPHIS — The blowback from Justin Timberlake’s early voting selfie has caused the entertainer to eliminate the picture from his social-media accounts.

The widely publicized picture of Timberlake preparing to slide his access card into the voting machine at New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in the Memphis suburb of Germantown, Tenn., has been taken down from his Twitter and Instagram account without explanation. A message accompanying the picture encouraged people to go to the polls.

Timberlake voted late Monday afternoon in Germantown. In addition to the picture of him preparing to vote, the singer, who is from the Millington, Tenn., area, also stopped for pictures with fans and at least two Germantown candidates.

Some viewed the picture at the voting machine as a welcome promotion for people to vote in the Nov. 8 election in which Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are vying for the presidency.

However, others noted that Timberlake violated Tennessee law by taking a picture in the polling location, leading to some wondering if he would be charged with a crime. The General Assembly passed the law last year, effective Jan. 1.

The GOP-sponsored bill was touted as bringing voting into the smartphone age because it allows voters to use their phones to access ballot information. Some county election commissions previously had prohibited all cellphone use inside polling places.

Some Democrats had wanted to amend the bill to allow people to record unlawful activity such as voter fraud or intimidation, but that idea was rejected in the Republican-dominated state House.

District Attorney General Amy Weirich of Shelby County made it clear Tuesday that no one was pursuing criminal charges against Timberlake. The Tennessee Secretary of State’s Office issued a statement praising the entertainer “promoting voting to his millions of fans” but that taking such pictures is not allowed.

“If polling officials discover someone violating this law, they will ask the voter to put their phone away,” said Adam Ghassemi, director of communications for Secretary of State Tre Hargett.


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